State-run coal firms have suspended operations at some mines and are paying half the salary to idle employees until production resumes. They have also deferred perks of executives as the sector copes with the coronavirus-led lockdown.
Singareni Colliers has suspended operations at 22 underground mines. About a third of its employees will still take home half the pay, company executives said.
The company operates a mix of 45 underground and open-cast mines. It was unable to operate mines where social distancing was not possible. These mines account for 15-17% of the total coal production.
At Singareni Colliers, as many as 15,000 employees have been affected. The company employs 46,000 and pays an average monthly salary of Rs 85,000.
“As per the guidelines of director general of mines safety (DGMS), requests from several unions and the situation prevailing due to Covid-19, production operations at the 22 semi-mechanised mines were suspended,” a spokesperson for Singareni Collieries said. “However, following recent requests from all the unions, we plan to lift the suspension and resume operation in a few days.”
A senior company executive said, “The management was compelled to suspend operations and temporarily cut pay to balance reduction in revenue inflow due to dip in production and sales.”