Coal India Wage Agreement Talks Continue as Workers Seek Perks

Coal India Ltd. (COAL), the world’s biggest producer of the commodity, and labor unions are continuing talks today on a wage agreement amid a demand by workers for additional perks and allowances.

“The trade unions have given a fresh proposal and we continue to discuss that,” Coal India personnel director R. Mohan Das said today in New Delhi. “I am hopeful that an agreement will emerge today.”

The company, based in Kolkata, held talks with unions earlier this month and was close to an agreement on a 25 percent wage increase, Das said on Jan. 13. Wages at state-owned Coal India are revised every five years for non-executive employees and were previously increased by an average 24 percent in 2006, in an agreement reached in January 2009.

“The trade unions have given a diluted proposal for an increase in allowances and other employee benefits, but the management is not willing to accept that,” Jibon Roy, a secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, said in an interview today. “We are not willing to accept just a 25 percent increase in wages.”

The unions are demanding improved allowances for workers, health insurance and better retirement benefits, Roy said today at the venue of a meeting on wages. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions is one of five that’s negotiating with the Coal India’s management.

Coal India fell 0.3 percent to 341.95 rupees at close in Mumbai trading. The benchmark Sensitive Index climbed 0.9 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rajesh Kumar Singh in New Delhi at rsingh133@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net

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