| NEW DELHI, July 18
NEW DELHI, July 18 Unions representing workers
at Coal India Ltd, the world's largest coal miner,
will oppose any move to sell a stake in the state-owned company
as part of the new government's plan to shore up its finances, a
union leader said on Friday.
The government, which has a 90 percent stake in the company
whose total value is about $40 billion, is considering the sale
of a 10 percent stake, according to official sources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration is looking to
raise a record $10.5 billion from asset sales this fiscal year
ending March 31 to keep the deficit under
"We will not allow the government to sell any stake and will
hit the streets if needed," said D.D. Ramanandan, vice president
of the All India Coal Workers Federation, one of five unions
representing workers at the company.
Union leaders representing more than 350,000 Coal India
workers will meet on Aug. 31 in the western city of Pune to
discuss their strategy.
Last year unions successfully blocked the previous
government's move to sell a 10 percent stake of the company.
Workers fear divestment or any restructuring of the company
would eventually lead to jobs cuts.
The unions are also opposed to Power and Coal Minister
Piyush Goyal's order to Coal India to reduce the volume of coal
sold through electronic auctions that fetch higher prices,
Goyal said last month selling less via auction will help
improve supplies to fuel-starved but debt-ridden power firms.
Ramanandan said it was a plan to help "the big industrialists
get cheap coal".
A spokesman for the Coal and Power Ministry had no comment.
Coal India, which produced 462 million tonnes in its last
fiscal year, sells about 7 percent through e-auction, mainly to
cement and other industries.
(Editing by David Holmes)