Indian coal miners end strike

8 January 2015 (Last Updated January 8th, 2015 18:30)

Coal miners in India have called off a strike after the government and the unions reached an agreement following a meeting.

Coal miners in India have called off a strike after the government and the unions reached an agreement following a meeting.

Around half a million workers are said to have taken part in the strike, which reached its second day on Wednesday when talks with the government failed.

During a further meeting, unions were assured that state-run Coal India, which has a near monopoly over production, will not be privatised.

Owing to the strike, fuel to nearly 100 coal-fired power plants have been affected raising fears of widespread disruption to power supplies.

"Fuel to nearly 100 coal-fired power plants have been affected raising fears of widespread disruption to power supplies."

As part of wide-ranging reforms to boost the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make state-run coal mines available to private investors.

An ordinance was also approved by the Indian Government allowing coal mines to be auctioned to private companies for their own use, as well as permitting future commercial mining.

As reported by AFP, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal agreed to look into union concerns over a cabinet-approved executive order that would enable private companies to mine and sell coal in the future, to increase production.

Five coal unions representing 3.5 million workers called for strike action amid fears that privatisation of India's coal industry could lead to job losses.

According to sources, coal provides nearly 60% of electricity generation needs in the country and the strike had an impact on 75% of daily coal production, representing 1.5 million tonnes.