Bloomberg News

Coal India Worker Strike May Cost 1.2 Billion Rupees, Jha Says

October 10, 2011

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- A one-day strike by workers of Coal India Ltd., the world’s biggest producer of the fuel, may result in the company losing 1.2 billion rupees ($25 million) of sales, Chairman Nirmal Chandra Jha said.

The company may lose 1 million metric tons of production, after workers walked off their jobs today, demanding higher payments, Jha said today in a telephone interview from Coal India’s Kolkata headquarters. The workers will be back at their jobs tomorrow, he said.

Five labor unions, including the Indian National Trade Union Congress supported by the nation’s ruling Congress party, are demanding the company give 23,500 rupees to every employee as an extra payment during the festival season, almost 57 percent more than the 15,000 rupees paid last year. Coal India has about 450 billion rupees of cash in hand, Jha said in a Sept. 22 interview.

Coal India’s shares gained 1.8 percent to 343.65 rupees after falling as much as 2 percent.

The company’s production during the five months ended Aug. 31 fell 6.7 percent short of a target of 163.5 million tons, after heavy showers flooded mines. The gap may have widened in the last month, Jha said.

“Our production growth last year was nearly zero and this year there is a drop in output,” he said.

Environmental restrictions and delays in land acquisitions slowed Coal India’s projects, even as demand for coal continues to increase. Domestic supply during the year ending March 31 may fall short of demand by 114 million tons, compared with a 83 million ton gap the previous year.

--Editors: Indranil Ghosh, Arijit Ghosh

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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