Coal unions defer strike for next three months

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New Delhi: The proposed three-day strike by five lakh workers of Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Singareni Collieries, which was to begin from Monday, has been deferred for the next three months, a trade union said on Sunday.

The workers had in May threatened to strike work for three days beginning 19 June to protest against the proposed merger of the coal miners’ provident fund with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).

“In view of the positive discussion, the proposed three-day nationwide strike from 19 June to 21 June 2017 has been deferred for the next three months,” the Indian National Mineworkers Federation affiliated to the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) said in a statement.

“On interference by deputy chief labour commissioner (central), Kolkata, the proposed strike called by five operating central trade unions i.e. INTUC, BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh), HMS (Hind Mazdoor Sabha), AITUC (All India Trade Union Congress) and CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) through a notice served to secretary (coal), chairman, CIL, and CMD (chief managing director), Singareni Collieries Company Ltd, for their seven-point charter of demand has been put on hold for having positive discussion,” it said.

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The unions have been opposed to the merger of the Coal Mines Provident Fund (CMPF) with the EPF. Detailed discussion on this was held with the coal secretary on 16 June. The centre has stated that it has not taken any decision to merge the EPF and the CMPF and there is no such proposal pending with the ministry.

“On the issue of continuance of the CMPF pension as it exists, the management stated that for sustainability of the Coal Mines Pension Scheme, 1998, both employer and employees shall contribute equally and the issue, if any, shall be deliberated and finalised in JBCCI-X (Joint Bipartite Committee for the Coal Industry),” the statement said.

“On request of the ministry of coal and also management of Coal India for withdrawal of the proposed strike from 19 to 21 June 2017, the representing unions after detailed discussion unanimously decided to defer the strike for three months,” it said.

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