Indian coal workers call off strike

Miners opposed to opening up coal industry to private companies end strike after crisis talks with government.

    Indian coal workers call off strike
    Supplies to nearly 100 coal-fired power plants had already been hit [AP]

    A strike by coal miners in India opposed to privatising the coal industry has been called off, with the government and the unions reaching an agreement after a crisis meeting, officials said.

    The strike had entered a second day on Wednesday after talks with the government failed, sparking fears of power cuts in the energy-hungry nation.

    "The strike has been called off," Lakhan Lal Mahato, leader of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said after the meeting with Coal Minister Piyush Goyal that lasted for over six hours, the Press Trust of India reported. 

    About half a million workers were taking part in the strike.

    Supplies to nearly 100 coal-fired power plants had already been hit, raising fears of widespread disruption to power supplies.

    Modi reforms

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to open India's mostly state-run coal mines to private investors as part of wide-ranging reforms to boost the economy.

    In October, Modi's government approved an ordinance to allow auctions of coal mines to private companies, as well as permitting commercial mining at some point in the future.

    The strike had been called by five coal unions representing some 3.5 million workers amid fears that any move to privatise the coal industry could lead to job cuts.

    Coal provides nearly 60 percent of India's electricity needs.

    Blackouts are common, especially during peak summer months, with demand from a growing middle class increasing. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.