West Bengal: Indefinite Hunger Strike of Contract Labourers of Eastern Coalfields Limimited for implementation of New wage Structure

November 14, 2014

cmd_hpc_update.docx (dragged)

ECL(Asansol-Durgapur) THIKA SRAMIK ADHIKAR UNION

Eleven number Contract labourers of Eastern Coalfields Limited are sitting at Indefinite Hunger Strike for implementation of new wage rate – Rs. 486 , Rs. 521, Rs. 556 and Rs. 592 and other terms and conditions mentioned in the recommendation of High Power Committee of Coal India Limited for all the contract labourers of Eastern Coalfields Limited including contractual Security Personnel and all type of surface workers from 10th November, 2014 infront of the CMD office of Eastern Coalfields Limited. On 18th February, 2013 General Manager (MP&IR), Coal India Limited issued an order to implement wage and other terms and conditioned mentioned in the recommendation of High Power Committee for all contract labourers of Coal Industry from 01/01/2013. Around 350 to 400 contract labourers from 30 to 35 collieries of 7 areas gathered on 10th November morning infront of the gate of Head Office(CMD Office), Sanctoria, Asansol, Burdwan. 11 contract labourers have started hunger strike along with slogan shouting and a rally.

A huge number of contract labourers are deploying at all type of perennial nature of job of Coal Industry. The production of coal by employing the contract labours has been increasing day by day. As a result of it, the share of outsourced production in Coal India has increased from 40 per cent in 2004-05 to 60 per cent in 2012-13. At Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) roughly about 20 thousand contract workers are working at Underground collieries, Open Cast Project and different corporate office of ECL and Security job. The management of ECL failed to provide the number of contract workers.

A new wage structure has been framed in the 294th meeting of the Board of Directors of the Coal India Limited in February 13, 2013 for the contract labours in coal industry as per recommendations of this high power committee. This high power committee comprising the representatives of coal companies and the representatives of five central trade unions of Coal India was formed in 2010. This new wage is on the mid way between the wages prescribed by the Central Govt. under Minimum Wages Act 1948 for the workers employed in scheduled employment for non-coal mines and the wages payable to the lowest category of regular workers i.e. , Category-I of National coal wage Agreement-IX. All the workers have been divided into four categories here and separate wage structure has been made for each category. The present wage structure is given at the following.
Unskilled- 486, Semi Skilled-521, Skilled-556 , Highly Skilled-592.

The new wage for contract workers is higher than the present wage which is equal to the minimum wage prescribed by the Central Govt.

Although this agreement has an output of respectable wage for a section of contract labours, it is against the interest of the workers for various reasons. Because in this way lakhs of contract labours are going to lose their right for getting equal payment for equal work as well as their right for becoming permanent worker due to the anti-worker policy of Coal India. On the other hand using the opportunity of employing low paid contract labour (having no security of work) for the permanent nature of work, the permanent workers have been forced to take voluntary retirement. The nationalized companies are pressing for employment of contract labours in all sorts of work as legal rights. These companies have already outsourced many of its departments to the private enterprises. They are intending to employ contract labours indiscriminately (without any resistance) in those departments which are obligatory for such companies to keep them in their own hand.

We are campaigning against this anti-worker policy of Coal India by forming a High Power Committee and demanding equal pay for equal work and regularization of the contract labour. At the same time the recommendation of high power committee will improve the present situation of the contract labour of coal industry to some extent. So we are running movement to implement the above wage structure for all contract labourers of Eastern Coalfields Limited. As per order from General Manager (MP&IR), Coal India Limited wage and other terms and conditioned mentioned in the recommendation of High Power Committee should be implemented from 01/01/2013. But till today above rate has been implemented only at Patmohona Colliery and partly at Kalidaspur Colliery on May, 2014 and July, 2014 respectively. The contract labourers of other collieries have not received the above wage as per recommendation of High Power Committee. Even the contract workers of ECL have not received Coal Mines Provident Fund(CMPF) registration number, Bonus, Medical facility as per term and condition of the recommendation oh High Power Committee.

We have started movement to implement the above from April, 2013. Now we are sitting at Indefinite Hunger Strike for implementation of wage rate – Rs. 486 , Rs. 521, Rs. 556 and Rs. 592 and other terms and conditions like CMPF, Medical facility, Bonus, proper documentation as per mines Act mentioned in the recommendation of High Power Committee for all the contract labourers of Eastern Coalfields Limited including contractual Security Personnel and all type of surface workers from 10th November, 2014 infront of the CMD office of Eastern Coalfields Limited.