Neyveli Lignite workers union calls off strike

July 18th, 2008 - 1:18 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 17 (IANS) The strike by workers at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC) was called off Thursday after talks between the management and the PMK-backed Pattali Thozil Sangam (PTS). Last Saturday, the second major worker’s union in NLC along with other unions - minus the DMK-backed NLC Workers’ Progressive Union (NLCWPU) - had given the strike call from Friday onwards demanding early revision in wages, incentives and conveyance allowance.

Speaking to IANS here PTS president said, “We have called off the strike as it was agreed in the conciliation meeting at the Regional Labour Commissioner’s office that the management will take a decision on upward revision of conveyance allowance within three weeks time.”

According to him, PTS has demanded Rs.3,000 and Rs.6,000 per month as conveyance allowance - equivalent of 60 litres - for two wheeler and four wheeler owners.

“If the fuel prices go up then the corporation should suitably increase the allowance. Further, the corporation should provide vehicle advance for purchase of cars up to Rs.600,000 for new cars and Rs.250,000 for used vehicles at 4 percent interest rate,” he added.

While PTS was steadfast in its strike stand till 9.15 p.m. Thursday, two of its allies INTUC and Labour Liberation Front had withdrawn their strike notice two days back.

On the other hand the NLCWPU had decided to keep of the war path citing the manangement’s offer of Rs.25,000 as advance to the workers which would be adjusted later when the revised wage agreement is signed.

Irrespective of their union affiliation, all the eligible workers have drawn the handsome advance.

Like other public sector company management, NLC is waiting for the central government’s decision on the sixth pay commission before proceeding on with the wage talks.

According to Selvaraj, the NLC management has agreed to hold talks with the two major unions - NLCWPU and PTS - individually to arrive at an amicable solution.

NLC mines around 24 million ton of lignite per year and generates around 2,490MW power which in turn is wheeled to the southern grid.

The lignite mining cum power generation company has around 10,000 contract workers and 13,000 permanent workers, said an official.

Around 12,000 workers (6,000 each of contract and permanent workers) work in NLC’s three mines and 7,000 workers (contract and permanent workers in equal numbers) work in the three power stations.

The remaining workers are deployed in support services, said an official.

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