Coal India Trade Union Opposes Investment In Machines, Fears Job Loss


New Delhi: As Coal India plans to ramp up production with heavy investment in hi-tech machines, one of its trade unions has strongly denounced the move fearing “huge job losses”.

Coal India (CIL), which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production, is eyeing one billion tonne output in the next five years.

“It is an open fact when super or high-tech technology comes, manpower reduces. So it is obvious when in Coal India such super technology will come with the multi-national companies and foreign power then automatically there will be huge job loss. So we strongly protest it,” Baij Nath Rai of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) said.

The state-owned company will invest $20 billion (over Rs 1.27 lakh crore) to increase production to one billion tonne over the next five years and the money would be spent in technology, equipment and up-gradation of the existing facilities.

“We are trying to unite all the unions (of Coal India)…..We demand that there should be an open discussion of this issue with all the concerned(executive, unions and government.

“We would go on strike if the government does not listen to us and the date and time will be decided with consultations with all unions,” Rai said.

However, another union is of the view that Coal India’s huge investment in hi-tech machines to ramp up production would not amount to lay-offs.

“We are assured that there would not be any retrenchment,” Indian National Mine Workers Federation Secretary General S Zama said.

A strike proposed for March 29 by CIL employee unions was deferred after a meeting between trade unions and Coal India management.