Coal India officers call off strike; output impact minimal

NEW DELHI Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:27am IST

Locals prepare to collect coal from an open cast coal field at Dhanbad district in Jharkhand September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood/Files

Locals prepare to collect coal from an open cast coal field at Dhanbad district in Jharkhand September 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmad Masood/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Coal India(COAL.NS) officers called off their three-day strike midway on Friday after receiving assurances from its chairman on pay-related demands, a union leader said, ensuring little impact on production that peaks in March.

The state-owned company, the world's No. 1 coal miner that accounts for about 80 percent of India's output, frequently falls short of its output target due to employee strikes, delays in getting approvals to expand mines and other issues.

"We have called off our strike as Coal India's chairman has promised our demands will be met within a few weeks," said P.K. Singh, secretary general of the Coal Mines Officers' Association. "If it does not happen within about four weeks, we will go on an indefinite strike."

The company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday that the officers' association had served a strike notice "against non-finalization of performance related pay, new pension scheme and other demands".

Coal India's production peaks at 1.5 million tonnes per day in March. A company official said earlier he had expected "some amount of dent" from the strike that started on Thursday.

A company spokesman could not be reached for comment on Friday.

A labour protest in December had cut off supply of about 200,000 tonnes per day for almost a week, mostly to power generators.

In the 11 months to February, Coal India produced 409.13 million tonnes, or 95 percent of its target for the period.

India is the world's third largest importer of coal despite sitting on the fifth-largest reserves. Coal shipments rose 21 percent to 152 million tonnes in 2013 calendar year, according to research firm OreTeam.

(Reporting by Krishna N Das; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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