Accord signed on miners' demands

HYDERABAD, AUG. 21. The Singareni Collieries management and the recognised union representing its 93,000 employees have signed here a historic agreement resolving 10 major issues that have disturbed industrial peace for a long time across the coal mines in four districts.

The achievement was made after several rounds of talks in the presence of the Regional Labour Commissioner, Central, M. K. Choudhary, at the latter's office yesterday. This was seen as a milestone accomplishment because the understanding could be reached without any strike notice. By this, it is hoped, the Singareni Collieries has avoided strikes for four years, the tenure of the present union. The Singareni, on an average, has witnessed nearly 300 small and big strikes yearly in the past few years.

Historic agreement

Sriram Taranikanti, Director (Personnel), who signed the papers on behalf of the management, and T. R. K. Rao, Executive Director, and the leaders of the INTUC-affiliated Singareni Coal Mines Labour Union, announcing this at a press meet here on Saturday, hoped they would now be able to achieve the production target of 35 million tonnes. The union working president, B. Venkat Rao, joined the officials to describe the agreement as `historic'.

The additional expenditure on account of the accord will be Rs. 3-5 crores immediately and Rs. 6 crores annually.

According to the agreement, all workers staying in own houses in the collieries areas, estimated at 40,000, will get electricity bills reimbursed to the tune of 30 units per month.

About 2,000 educated employees/diploma holders will come under Cadre Scheme which will give them promotions.

New jobs

The eligible waiting dependents from the families of the deceased and medically-unfit cases during the period from January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2003, will be given jobs by September 30 and for the period from January 1, 2004, to December 31, at the rate of 25 jobs per month thereafter.

The management promised to reappoint, after a review, the employees dismissed for absenteeism from January 11, 2000, to June 30, 2004.

The monthly allowance to `front-level supervisors' in the mines (`sardars') has been enhanced to Rs. 555 from Rs. 255, ensuring better safety in the mines.