Coal India's recent huge Rs 18,000 crore dividend bonanza, most of which went to the government, has an unlikely fallout.
About 20,000-odd executives of the state-owned miner has called for a three-day strike from March 13 with a threat of an indefinite strike at a later date if some of their wage related demands such as implementation of performance-linked pay and new pension scheme are not met.
While Coal Mines Officers' Association of India have threatened such a strike thrice since 2010 but deferring every time, what has made them angry and resolute this time was the massive special interim dividend of Rs 29 a share, or 290%, helping the government pocket Rs 16,485 crore as dividend and dividend tax.
"It is an irony that at one hand Coal India has paid a whooping interim dividend including dividend tax to the tune of approximately Rs 19,000 crore to the government, which alone is 65% of entire pay out of all PSUs to the government, and at the other hand in spite of continuous outstanding performance of Coal India as a whole, its executives have been deprived from performance dividend," the officers' body said in a statement.
CMOAI said it may even resort to indefinite stir if the demands are not met even after the three-day strike.
"Significantly, all the Maharatna PSUs except Coal India Ltd have already been given order for payment of Performance Related Pay (PRP) by their ministries concerned...We are constrained to communicate to you our strike notice with effect from March 13, 2014, to meet our genuine and justified demands," CMOAI said in a letter to CIL chairman and managing director Narsing Rao.
Specific demands include finalisation and payment of performance related pay pending since 2007, immediate refund of recovered performance-linked pay advance from retired executives, immediate implementation of new pension scheme and removal of pay anomaly of different grades in general and in particular junior grades among others.