Boycotting a meeting convened by the government on Saturday, all major trade unions including BJP-backed BMS gave a go-ahead to coal workers across the country to launch a 5-day strike from Tuesday which may hit the power sector and cause a daily loss of up to Rs 150 crore.
Terming the protest action as "unprecedented" in the history of the coal industry, the unions urged the workers to participate in it in a "militant" manner and oppose the coal block allocation ordinance and moves to privatise the sector.
Demonstrating unity, all five major trade unions of the coal PSU - BMS, INTUC, AITUC, CITU and HMS boycotted a meeting called by Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, saying the government's move to re-promulgate the ordinance after the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill could not be passed in Rajya Sabha reflected the government's "arrogance".
The unions said a consensus had emerged among them after the government displayed "enough arrogance" over re-issuing the ordinance "without any consultations" with the unions.
"Government of India is bent upon to dilute and gradually de-nationalise Coal India Ltd or CIL and SCCL," INTUC said in a statement.
CITU and AITUC leaders also expressed "pride" over the display of unity by all trade unions in boycotting the meeting convened by Mr Goyal to avert the industrial action.
"The Central trade unions call upon the coal workers of CIL/subsidiaries and SCCL to launch five days total strike in coal industry from first shift of January 6 to third shift of January 10 in most militant manner...It is time for coal workers to do or die," Indian National Mineworkers' Federation (INTUC) said.
AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta told PTI: "This will probably be the biggest ever strike in the industry" as, 5.5 lakh permanent and contractual workers and officers of the
coal industry and CIL would be on five-day strike.
He said none of the leaders of five trade unions today went for the meeting called by the Coal Minister as they are protesting against the Coal Ordinance and any move towards "privatisation and scuttling of the public sector. Power sector may be hit by the prolonged strike".