Coal India stake sale: Unions threaten indefinite strikehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/coal-india-stake-sale-unions-threaten-indefinite-strike/

Coal India stake sale: Unions threaten indefinite strike

The government’s move to dilute 10 per cent stake in Coal India Limited (CIL) has met with resistance from the PSU’s trade unions

The government’s move to dilute 10 per cent stake in Coal India Limited (CIL) has met with resistance from the PSU’s trade unions,which have warned that they could resort to indefinite nation-wide strike if the Centre divested further stakes in the miner.

Cutting across party lines,all trade unions of CIL have conveyed to the government that any further dilution of stake in the world’s biggest coal miner would not be viewed as an imprudent move and they would resort to strike to stall it. Their opposition comes amid reports that the Centre is planning to further offload 10 per cent stake in the next fiscal to mobilise over Rs 16,000 crore after the success of the PSU’s initial public offering in 2010 which helped the government garner over Rs 15,000 crore.

The department of disinvestment is understood to be planning to invite bids from the merchant bankers and legal advisers for managing the divesting of stake.

“All CIL unions have written to us opposing the reported stake sale and have warned of a general strike against the move,” a senior coal ministry official told The Indian Express. He said,during a recent meeting with coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal in Bhubaneswar,representatives of unions conveyed their opposition to the disinvestment plan and demanded that the government abandon it.

Advertising

The union leaders told Jaiswal that in a meeting with the top brass of the finance ministry in 2010 before CIL’s IPO,they were assured that there would be no further dilution of stake in CIL. “They said if the government now decides to proceed with the move it would amount to going back on its promise,” the official quoted the unions as saying.

The caution by the union has triggered serious concerns in the company as it is still trying to wriggle out of the production and financial losses sustained during the recent two-day strike by the trade unions against several issues,one of which was opposing the sale of official stake in CIL.