Neyveli Lignite workers end strike, to hike productivity

September 10th, 2008 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 10 (IANS) After ending their third strike this year, contractual workers of the state-owned Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC) are now ready to discuss ways to boost productivity, a top company official told IANS Wednesday.The contractual workers affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) had struck work from Monday morning demanding Rs.1 million compensation for the family of a worker who died September 4 in a vehicle accident inside mine II.

The strike was called off Tuesday night after support for the agitation dwindled, said the official who declined to be identified.

He said the management of the mining-cum-power company had refused to give in to the demand which was double of what the management had agreed to offer.

“Now the workers unions have agreed to hold a meeting with the management to find ways and means to increase productivity,” the official said.

The company is currently generating only 1,595 MW despite having a total installed capacity of 2,492 MW because of low productivity of both permanent and contractual workers, he said.

He also said strikes had slowed down mining activity which in turn is affecting power generation due to unavailability of adequate lignite supply.

The official, however, said that after lifting of the strike, power generation had begun to pick up.

As a welfare measure, NLC offers employment to one family member of a deceased worker if the death occurs during the course of employment. But the process takes its own time.

For this reason, the contract workers’ union had also demanded immediate employment for a family member of the dead and the suspension of a couple of officials.

“We stuck to our position and haven’t agreed to any of their unreasonable demands,” said the official.

He said NLC has formulated a scheme whereby the contractors, workers and NLC would contribute to a fund that would be used to deal with such situations in the future.

Earlier, the contractual workers had struck work twice - once in March-April and later in June.

They wanted the company to absorb them as permanent workers and pay other perquisites that permanent staff enjoy.

The strike in June was called off as the management agreed to meet most of the demands.

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