Trade unions ready for talks with Coal Minister or PM: AICWF Secy

Ramgarh (Jharkhand), Jun 29 (PTI) A senior coal trade union leader on Monday said any dialogue over the proposed 3- day nationwide strike called by different unions from July 2 could take place only with Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Different coal trade unions have given a call for a 3-day nationwide strike against the government's move to open the coal sector to private players.

'We will sit across the table for talks either with the Coal Minister or the Prime Minister,' said D D Ramanandan, the secretary All India Coal Workers Federation (AICWF).

National trade unions including CITU, INTUC, All India Trade Union Congress, All India Central Committee for Trade Union, Hind Mazdoor Sabha and Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh has called for the 3-day nationwide strike in Coal India Limited subsidiaries, including Central Coal Fields Limited and Bharat Coking Coal Limited operating in Jharkhand to demand the withdrawal of the commercial mining, he said.

Ramanandan claimed that a secretary-rank official in the Union government talked over the phone to central trade union leaders and invited them for talks in Kolkata on the issue of commercial mining.

'But the joint front of national trade unions made it clear that they will participate in talks either with coal minister or prime minister. Allowing private companies for mining as well as trading is a bid to de-nationalize the coal industry and is unacceptable for the trade unions,' he said.

'No company in India has better mining technology and experience than Coal India Limited, which can be made stronger and effective with government support,' he said.