Oil Report

Striking coal miners in Bangladesh return to work

DHAKA, March 27 (Reuters) - Hundreds of striking miners at a state-run Bangladeshi coal mine returned to work on Saturday after their demand for higher pay was met, the chief executive of the mining firm said.

More than 1,100 miners of Bangladesh’s state-run Barapukuria Coal Mine Co Ltd (BCMCL) struck work five days ago to demand higher wages and shorter hours, affecting coal production at the Barapukuria mine, 415 km (260 miles) north of the capital, Dhaka.

“All the miners have resumed work with satisfaction as their basic demand to raise wages was fulfilled,” Mohammad Kamruzzaman told Reuters.

“We have agreed to raise the wages of the miners by 22 percent,” Kamruzzaman said by telephone from the coal mine site.

The mine employs about 1,100 miners and 360 other workers and officials, many of whom stay within the complex with their families. On Thursday, the striking miners held hundreds of people hostage at the coalfield.

The coalfield produces about 2,000 tonnes of coal a day, supplying two power plants with a total capacity of 250 megawatts. At least 8,000 tonnes of coal could not be extracted due to the five-day strike.

BCMCL developed the coal field with technical assistance from Chinese coal firm China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, which employes more than 200 Chinese staff. No Chinese miners joined the strike.

Bangladesh has six coal fields with around 2.55 billion tonnes of reserves.

Reporting by Serajul Islam Quadir; Editing by Sugita Katyal