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Court orders union’s participation in wage negotiation

24 February, 2023Calcutta High Court rules in favour of IndustriALL affiliate, Indian National Mineworkers’ Federation (INMF), for its participation in the coal industry wage negotiation process. 

A Joint Bipartite Committee on Coal Industry (JBCCI) comprising of management and central trade unions, is constituted every five years to finalise the National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA). NCWA determines the wages of the non-executive employees, including contract workers, in Coal India and its subsidiaries, and the Singareni Collieries Company. The committee also takes decisions on other issues, such as social security concerning workers in the coal industry. 

As per the direction of the coal ministry, the eleventh JBCCI was constituted in 2021 but INMF who is affiliated to one of the central trade unions, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), was not included in the committee. 

The union challenged Coal India’s unfair decision to prevent its participation in the wage negotiation process, in Calcutta High Court. On 10 February, the court passed a judgement in favour of the union, directing Coal India to permit INMF to participate in the forthcoming meetings of JBCCI.

SQ Zama, secretary general of INMF, says:

“This is a big victory for us. To keep us out of the wage negotiation process was a political decision. We have been struggling for the past two years to be part of the committee.”

Apoorva Kaiwar, regional secretary of IndustriALL, says:

“IndustriALL congratulates INMF for putting up a strong fight in the matter. We are happy that the union has been included in the committee and can take part in the wage negotiation process.”