September 29, 2019

Coal Industry Paralysed on Coal Miners Strike

Below we publish the statement issued by the AICWF on September 25                                                         

NO FDI, No outsourcing, No commercial mining – the coal workers of the country have paralysed the entire coal industry with these slogans on September 24, 2019. The strike was called by coal workers’ federations affiliated to five central trade unions – CITU, AITUC, HMS, INTUC and AICCTU. All most all trade unions functioning in coal industry have supported the strike. This coal strike will certainly be an important milestone in the history of the working class movement of India.

The strike, which began at exactly 6 am in the morning of September 24th, continued up to evening 6.00 o’clock on September 25th. Coal workers in all the coal belts in all the states where the industry exists, responded to the strike call spontaneously and actively. The CITU affiliated All India Coal Workers’ Federation took up an extensive campaign organising meetings at pits as well as residential areas. Dharnas, rallies and demonstrations were conducted in hundreds of places in the coal mining areas immediately after the government announced its decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in coal.

Coal mines, establishments, workshops of MCL, CCL, WCL, SECL, BCCL, SCCL, NEC and CMPDI have recorded 100 per cent strike. In most of the mines, there was a spontaneous strike; there was no need for any picketing as the workers themselves actively campaigned and joined the strike. There was a strong resentment against the government’s decision. 

In NCL, all projects, mines had 100 per cent strike except one project of Jayanta area where the BMS played an active role to mark the attendance of workers. In some coal mines in West Bengal, the Trinamool workers opposed the strike and attacked the CITU union activists. But these could not deter the workers from joining the strike. They had only marginal impact.

ECL has achieved 90 per cent strike. Areas like, Rajmahal, Chitra, Mugma, Sripur, Sodepur, Salanpur, Kajora had no production and attendance despite active opposition from the ruling TMC and its union. 25 workers including CITU area leadership have been arrested at Chitra Mine. In Jhanjra underground mine there was 80 per cent strike, despite a desperate threat from the TMC and the management, and forcing the workers to attend their duties with the help of local police; Sonepur Bazari OC had 50 per cent strike. In Bankola area of ECL, CITU members have been assaulted by the TMC goons. In Bankola Mine and Millenium Mine, Bhola Pradhan and Kajol Pal were attacked by the TMC activists while they were campaigning for strike. All such constraints had left no effect on strike. Bankola has achieved 90 per cent strike, Satgram 75 per cent, Kenda 80 per cent, and in Kunustoria there was 80 per cent strike.

This successful coal strike of the coal workers is leading to a continuous struggle and certainly the coal workers will teach a lesson to the anti-worker and anti-people Modi government.  

CITU Salutes Coal Workers

THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions, in a statement issued on September 24, has heartily congratulated and saluted the coal workers of the country for the historic total strike on September 24, 2019. The coal workers went on strike against the decision of the BJP government led by Modi to allow 100 per cent FDI through the automatic route in extraction and sale of coal.

The BJP government has allowed 100 per cent FDI in coal mining through the automatic route. Foreign companies can not only extract coal from our coal mines but also sell them at market prices including exporting it. The government allowed these profits to be siphoned off to their countries. By going on a total strike against this, the coal workers have once again proved that it is they, as part of the working class, who are really determined to protect the interests of the nation. Through the strike they have expressed their strong patriotic feelings.

On the contrary, the BJP, its government and its prime minister, Modi, have once again exposed that their topmost priority is to serve their corporate masters, domestic and foreign. Patriotism and nationalism for them are only rhetoric meant to fool the people. Despite the decision of the workers to go on strike, the government went ahead with issuing the notification.

Through their total strike opposing free entry to foreign companies not only to mine coal from our country’s coal mines but also to sell and export it at market price, not only pocket profits through such sales but also to siphon off these profits out of the country, the coal workers have proved that it is they, a part of the working class that is determined to protect the nation’s interests; that it is the working class which is patriotic.

It is to be recalled that around a century ago, 50,000 workers passed a resolution calling for ‘swaraj’ in a meeting called by the first national trade union centre of the country, the All India Trade Union Congress in Jharia coal belt. Today lakhs of coal workers in around 600 mining establishments spread across 82 mining areas in the country had to go on strike to protect national interests and national sovereignty which the BJP government is determined to mortgage.

The united trade union movement has called an open mass convention on September 30, 2019 near parliament to announce a struggle programme against such sell out of the country’s natural resources, its public sector and attack workers’ basic rights and give benefits to the profit greedy corporates.

CITU appeals to all the workers, irrespective of affiliations, to unitedly resist and defeat these anti-national, anti-people and anti-worker policies of the BJP government led by Modi.

Support to Coal India Workers Strike

Below we publish the statement issued by the Trade Union International Chemistry & Energy, on September 24.

THE TUI Chemistry Energy, an international union of chemical, petrochemical, petroleum, energy, rubber, pharmaceutical and plastics unions, expresses its full support for the strike of Indian coal workers who are currently struggling against the privatisation project for the entire energy sector in India. This project in addition to the deterioration of the working conditions of all employees in the sector, would entail a major risk of increasing the cost of energy for all Indian citizens. The fight of the coal workers, supported by all the workers of the energy sector, for the maintenance of a public service is legitimate and brings progress for all the Indian people.