NLC unions to go on strike from July 18


Chennai : The Pattali Thozhil Sangam (PTS), the PMK-backed workers union at Neyveli Lignite Corp Ltd (NLC), and 10 other unrecognised unions Saturday called an indefinite strike from July 18 to demand an early wage revision.

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However, the major union in the company, the DMK-backed NLC Workers’ Progressive Union (NLCWPU), has announced that it would not take part in the strike.

“We are not participating in the strike as the management has agreed to the worker’s demands,” R. Gopalan, general secretary of NLC Workers’ Progressive Union (NLCWPU), said Saturday.

He was referring to the company’s decision to pay Rs.25,000 in advance to permanent workers. The amount is a temporary relief to the workers ahead of the wage revision.

“No public sector unit has commenced wage revision negotiations as they are awaiting the government’s decision of the Sixth Pay Commission report,” a high ranking NLC official told IANS, requesting anonymity.

Apart from salary, NLC workers get incentives like quarterly plant performance reward, productivity-linked incentive and conveyance allowance.

“These are always part of the wage negotiations. NLC has agreed to pay advance amount to the workers July 15-16 as they can use the money to meet their children’s education expense,” the official said.

However, PTS president S. Selvaraj countered the company’s claims. “The conveyance allowance is not part of wage talks. It could have been resolved by the management even seven months ago. But they failed to do that,” he said.

The workers intensified their dermand for wage revision when the incentive schemes expired in January 2007. NLC started talks with NLCWPU that time, but a rival union went to the court challenging that.

The court had ordered that the union that gets 51 percent votes of the employees would hold talks with the NLC management. However no unions crossed the threshold with NLCWPU securing 41 percent votes and PTS bagging 18 percent.

NLC suggested the unions form a an eight member committee for talks. But this proposal failed to take off when PTS demanded equal representation in the joint committee.

“The court judgment is silent on the committee representation nor it said ranking of the unions. Given this, we say the two unions should be treated equally,” Selvaraj argued.

“We have been consistent in our stand. We want the management to hold talks and come to an early solution,” he added