Coal India Ltd (CIL) signed a wage pact late on Tuesday with five employee unions which would entail a 25 per cent increase as minimum guaranteed benefits (MGB).

The National Coal Wage Agreement-IX would cover the two public sector coal companies — CIL and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL). The agreement was signed in New Delhi. Nirmal Chandra Jha, who retired on January 31, was among the signatories.

Coal Secretary Alok Perti was also present.

The wage pact, which also includes a hike in the coal workers' house rent allowances, will entail an outgo of Rs.6,500 crore in the first year and around Rs.4,000 crore annually, during the five-year tenure of the pact which is effective July 1, 2011.

Confirming the developments, CIL Director, Personnel, R. Mohandass, said committees had been set up to examine some other pending issues such as a hike in the pension rates (now at 25 per cent of basic) and on medical benefits for retired workers.

CIL had already provided Rs.754 crore per quarter, from the second quarter onwards, towards higher wage costs and expects profited to be maintained on account of the hike.

Payment of arrears too would commence soon, once orders are issued on the enhanced pay. The benefits cover some 3.5 lakh employees of Coal India.

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