KOLKATA: The three-day strike called by the officers of Coal India Ltd from Thursday might lead to a production loss of 3.4 mln tn and derail any hopes of meeting its production target for the financial year ending Mar 31, said V.P. Singh, president of the Coal Mines Officers Association.
“March is the peak production month. No mining operations can take place without the mining officers or executives. Hence, Coal India may see a production loss of 3-4 mln tn during the three-day strike,” Singh said while interacting with the media here today.
A notice issued by the association on Feb 28 had said that its members would go on a three-day strike starting Mar 13 to demand implementation of performance related pay and new pension scheme, among others.
The last time the association had called a strike was in 1989. Coal India is already struggling to meet its production target for the current financial year due to the excessive heat in May-Jun, cyclone Phailin in October, and a strike by workers at its Talcher coalfields of subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd in November.
Coal India has set a production target of 482 mln tn for 2013-14 (Apr-Mar) and offtake target of 492 mln tn. During Apr-Feb, the company produced 409.13 mln tn of coal, which was 95% of its target of 429.29 mln tn.
Offtake for the same period was 426.44 mln tn, 17.76 mln tn short of the 444.20-mln-tn aim. The miner, which accounts for about 80% of the coal produced in the country, had failed to achieve its production target of 464 mln tn for 2012-13. The offtake for the year was 5 mln tn below aim at 465 mln tn.
Singh said if the demands of the officers were met, Coal India would suffer 8-bln-rupee hit per annum as its salary and wage bill would go up further.
The Coal Mines Officers Association, which has about 24,000 executives under its fold, has been demanding the finalisation and payment of performance related pay since 2007.
Singh said that Coal India would have to shell out at least 2 bln rupees if the performance related pay is implemented. The association is also demanding 30% increase in basic pay as the salaries have not been revised since 2007.
“There has been no revision in our salaries since 2007. In between, the wages of the workers were revised upwards by 30% in 2011 which created an anomaly. We are demanding 30% hike in our salaries as it has been with the workers in 2011,” P.K. Singh, secretary general of the association, said.
Coal India’s total annual wage and salary bill is seen around 190 bln rupees, he said. On the National Stock Exchange, shares of Coal India ended down 2.3% at 258.80 rupees.