Contract labour regularisation as per seniority: NLC

April 10th, 2008 - 7:31 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, April 10 (IANS) The lignite mining and power generation at Neyveli Lignite Corp Ltd (NLC) returned to normalcy as majority of the 12,000 contract labourers returned to work after a nine-day strike. “Only a small percentage of contract workers, who are deployed at our second thermal station, are continuing their agitation,” a top official, pleading anonymity, told IANS.

The continuation of the strike by one section seemed to be to pressurise the top management to take a quick decision as two senior executives - the chairman-cum-managing director and a director - are likely to retire soon.

The workers also enjoy the backing of the PMK, which has a good support in the area where the company is located.

The PMK-affiliated labour union Pattali Thozhil Sangam (PTS) represents a section of NLC workers.

The contract labourers, citing a recent Madras High Court judgement, demand they be taken on the rolls of the NLC.

Citing the same judgment, the NLC official said the absorption of contract labourers would be on the basis of seniority and on the company’s needs.

“The NLC has two types of contract workers - the members of Industrial Cooperative Society (ICS) and non-members,” he said.

According to him, the ICS was formed in 1990 to prevent exploitation of the contract labourers by the contractors.

“A majority of the society members is those from whom NLC acquired land or the sons of deceased NLC workers,” he said.

To prevent malpractices in the society, the enrolment of members to the ICS was stopped in May 1995.

He said regularisation of the ICS members did not happen at fast pace as NLC had to re-deploy its own workforce from its fertiliser units, which was closed down some years ago.

“Till date, around 4,000 labourers who were members of the society were absorbed and around 800 workers await absorption,” he added.

The contract workers, who are members of the society, had formed a new union and filed a case for absorption with the Madras High Court.

The court in its judgment said the NLC should not ignore any section of the contract workers. It should consider the entire contract workforce for absorption taking into account their seniority.

“We still have time to appeal against the court judgment,” he said.

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