The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 11 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

CIL staff stir to hurt output

Calcutta, March 10: Coal India’s production is expected to take a hit this month because of the proposed three-day strike by executives demanding a wage hike.

The strike, beginning March 13, could take Coal India further away from its production target of 482 million tonnes (mt) this year.

The Coal Mines Officers’ Association of India, representing over 20,000 executives, has called the strike demanding finalisation and payment of performance related pay, pending since 2007. The implementation of the new pension scheme and the removal of pay anomaly across grades are among the other demands.

The miner’s production usually peaks in March with a daily output of 1.2-1.3 million tonnes.

V.P. Singh, president of the officers’ association, said the stir could lower production by 4 million tonnes.

The miner is already facing a shortfall of 8-10 million tonnes from its annual target.

Several factors such as excess rainfall in October and disruption in Odisha’s Talcher mines under Mahanadi Coalfields in November led to the decline in production. During the 11-month period, from April to February, the miner produced 409.13 million tonnes.

“It is not in our interest to hold a strike. But unless we get concrete orders and not assurances, we would go on a strike,” Singh said.

According to Singh, the organisation, which had last called a strike 25 years back, could go on an indefinite strike if the demands were not met.

Singh said while the salaries of workers were revised upwards by 30 per cent in 2011, those of the executives had not been increased since 2007.

“This has created an anomaly. We are demanding a 30 per cent hike in our salaries,” said Singh.

If the demands are met, the estimated annual impact on Coal India’s book could be about Rs 800 crore. This includes a Rs 200-crore annual outgo for performance related pay for which the miner has already made provisions in its balance sheet.

The association will hold meetings with the deputy labour commissioner and the CIL management before the strike.

Incidentally, the first day of the strike will coincide with a board meeting of CIL, leaving the board members in a fix as they may require the assistance of the executives.