A total of 2268 contractual workers of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Limitedwere rendered jobless as the agreement period with the private security agency ended on 30th June, 2017 without initiating the process of new tender for security job. The overwhelming majority of these contractual workers have been employed at ECL for 20 years and more.After working for a long time in the same job there is hardly any possibility of finding a new job. So the families of these security personnel are now living under the constant threat of loss of their livelihood.

The private security personnel started a Workers Movement from 1st July, 2017 demanding immediate resumption of their duty at different collieries and Office of ECL. Further, from 21st August, 2017 these contractual workers have started an indefinite hunger strike, in front of the office of Chairman Cum Managing Director, Eastern Coalfields Limited.

On 6th September, 2017 at 11.30 AM, the family members of the jobless contractual private security personnel of Eastern Coalfields Limited came to meet the management demanding immediate resumption of duty of all contractual security personnel. At that time they were brutally lathichaged by the security personnel of Eastern Coalfields. After this event about five to six hundred jobless security personnel had a sit-in at the main gate of ECL in protest against the lathicharge and demanding immediate interference of District Magistrate.The main gate of the office of CMD has been closed for all practical purpose form that day and CMD and all the Directors and Officers are compelled to enter the office through back door.

Eight of the participants in the hunger strike were admitted to the Sanctoria Hospital by the 16th day of the hunger strike. Naturally the family members of them have been worried about their health. On 6th September some family members of the private security personnel have gathered at the manch of hunger strike demanding ECL to publish tender on that day. Nearly 20-25 family members were approaching to meet with Director Personnel or CMD. The security personnel of ECL did not stop them at the main gate. Suddenly,the security personnel closed the door of the main gate and started lathicharge on the female family members without any provocation. Then a large number of the people gathered at the site had a sit-in at the main gate of ECL head quarter. After two hours of agitation, the District Magistrate sent an officer to listen to our complain and demands.

Subsequently a meeting was held at Sanctoria Police Phanri. The Additional Magistrate has committed for an unbiased enquiry regarding the brutal lathichaged by the security personnel of Eastern Coalfields Limited on the female family members of the private security personnel of ECL. He also requested us to withdraw hunger strike and communicated to us that the tender will be published within the next morning. But we continued our indefinite hunger strike and sit-in at the main gate. On next day, 7thof September the General Manager (Personnel & Industrial Relation) had a meeting with the leadership of our union in the evening. He said that they require 7 more days to publish the tender for security job and requested us to withdraw our hunger strike and agitation. But we asked the GM(P&IR) to appeal directly to the private security personnel who have participated in the indefinite hunger strike and agitation at the main gate of ECL.

No officer, however, came to the manch of hunger strike. On the 18th day of hunger strike the health condition of the remaining participant turned serious. So all of them were admitted to the Sub-divitional Hospital and a new batch of six participants who started from 4th September are continuing the indefinite hunger strike. Sit-in at the main gate is also continuing and the officers of ECL including the CMD are forced to enter through the back door of the ECLHead Quarter.

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August 25 Update

Contractual private security personnel of Eastern Coalfields Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited, have started a workers movement from 1st July, 2017 under the banner of ECL (Asansol-Durgapur) Thika Sramik Adhikar Union. These contractual workers were rendered jobless as the agreement period with the private security agency ended on 30th June, 2017 without initiating the process of new tender for security job. The jobless security workers are demanding immediate resumption of duty at different offices and collieries of ECL. A large number of private security personnel have left the camp of ruling party and joined the movement. From 21st August, 2017, the workers have started indefinite hunger strike in front of the office of Eastern Coalfields Limited. A turning point of the current movement is participation of female family members of the jobless workers in a large number.

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