Union coal minister Piyush Goyal meets trade union leaders to resolve the coal strike.
New Delhi: On the second day of the coal strike, Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal is meeting the representatives of the striking trade unions to look for a solution to the impasse. The union leaders have claimed the authorities are using force against striking workers in Jharkhand.
Here are the latest developments in this story:
Police lathicharged workers at Jharkhand's Rajmahal, where two persons were injured. At another mine in Jharkhand, five people were arrested, said a union leader.
"They are using the police, the Central Industrial Security Force, contractors and unsocial elements to force the strikers to join work," said Ramendra Rai, chairman, AITUC. But the police action has provoked the strikers and today's is strike stronger than yesterday's, he added.
On Tuesday, the Coal India Limited shipped less than half its daily target, only 645,000 tonnes, which included the day's production and stocks. It was still a struggle, mainly using contract workers, reported Reuters, quoting a company official.
Coal India has a permanent workforce of over 2.8 lakh, excluding supervisors and executives, and employs another 65,000 contract workers. The output could fall further if contract workers join the strike, the official said.
Last evening, the four-hour talks between the union representatives and coal secretary Anil Swarup remained inconclusive. The unions had asked for the coal minister's intervention.
"We were told it (the ordinance) was a cabinet decision. There was no assurance... Coal secretary told us very arrogantly, 'Now the action will start'," Nathulal Pandey of trade union Hind Mazdoor Sangh told NDTV.
Five key trade unions are opposing the government's coal block ordinance, which may allow private companies to mine and sell coal commercially.
Coal is the most dominant energy source in India, meeting around 52% of the country's primary commercial energy needs.
Coal India produces around 80 per cent of India's overall coal and feeds 82 of the 86 coal-based thermal power plants.
But it had fallen short of its output targets for the last six years, making the country the third largest coal importer despite sitting on the world's fourth largest reserves of the fuel.