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Rashtriya Koyla Khadan Mazdoor Sangh, affiliated to Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), is planning to explore the possibility of a legal remedy against the management of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) in order to get participation in all bipartite and tripartite forums. Recently, WCL issued its yearly industrial relation (IR) calendar but excluded RKKMS out of the five central trade unions (CTUs).
According to sources, this is due to misinterpretation of an order issued by the ministry of coal to debar INTUC representatives from attending JBCCI-X (joint bipartite committee for the coal industry) meetings at national level. Subsidiaries of Coal India Limited (CIL) went ahead and banned unions registered under Trade Union Act i.e. RKKMS, RCMS and RCSS because INTUC is their parent union.
Meanwhile, workers of coal industry are disappointed due to unprecedented delay in pay revision which is due since July 2016. They are under the impression that allowances which will be given in the form of arrears from July 2016 will be curtailed as is the earlier practice of the wage board. This has added to their woes.
PRO of RKKMS Pradeep Kokas said, “INTUC affiliated union RCSS (Rashtriya Colliery Sangharsh Samiti) of NCL (Northern Coalfields Limited) reached Jabalpur High Court and got relief of participation in all subsidiaries level meetings for negotiation while OCMS (Orissa Colliery Mazdoor Sangh) union sorted out the matter internally with MCL (Mahanadi Coalfields Limited) to exercise their rights. WCL has not officially denied RKKMS such a chance, but it is not inviting the body for forum discussions. This may force us to go in for a legal remedy,” Kokas said.
This is an infringement of Trade Union Act 1926 which allows representatives of unions to resolve demands and grievances of workers, said SQ Zama, secretary general of Indian National Mineworkers Federation (INMF). He said, “RKKMS has an independent identity. Its involvement will enhance productivity and help in quick decision making as matters of promotions, employment to dependant and age disputes are pending. We don’t have a say in the safety board as well and this raises a question on safety of our workers and mines.”
He said that in previous nine national coal wage agreements (NCWA), INTUC had successfully proposed 25% hike in pay revisions. Zama said, “Even after several meetings of JBCCI-X, nothing concrete has been done regarding wages of coal workers across India. Workers are now worried that only 15% hike will be the call this time.”
Sources also revealed that NCWA always saw six out 18 representatives belonging to INTUC by virtue of its highest membership in coal industries. But now, the number has plunged to four owing to political pressure.
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