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India: Overwhelmingly successful all-India Coal workers strike

The one day strike on 24th September 2019 by around 500.000 workers of the public sector coal industry (Coal India Ltd.-CIL and Singareni Colliery Company Ltd.- SCCL) was a resounding success with production and transport of coal totally paralyzed. Processions and rallies were taken out by workers in the colliery areas with slogans condemning the Govt. decision on FDI. Even the managements conceded that attendance was minimal, production was nominal mainly from some outsourced mines and there was no transport of coal in Coal India.

The strike call was given by four out five central trade unions (except BMS) recognized by the Govt in coal industry demanding withdrawal of the cabinet decision to permit 100% FDI in coal mining. Other demands included stopping coal mining through outsourcing and contractors and regularization of all these workers engaged in coal mining. The call was supported by IFTU and almost all unions operating in this sector including the TRS linked union in SCCL. The success of the strike has shown that all the jingoistic, communal , pseudo-nationalist, divisive and diversionary propaganda by the Govt. and the “Godi media” in the current political scenario has not been able to deter the struggles of the workers.
Rushing to the aid of the Modi govt. the RSS affiliated BMS had given a call for 5 day strike in coal from 23rd to 27th Sept. The BMS has membership in the coal industry but no history of any serious struggle. Obviously the aim was to pre-empt the joint strike and divide the workers so as to ensure failure of the strike. Its strike on 23rd Sept was a total flop and after the success of the 24Th Sept. strike it shame-facedly withdrew its strike call on 25th Sept. with an unsubstantiated claim that the Coal Minister has assured it that FDI will not be allowed which is simply a face-saving fabrication.