Neyveli workers’ unions seek wage revision, threaten strike

Chennai, May 31 (IANS) Two unions of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC) representing a majority of the 14,000 permanent workers Monday warned of strike demanding early revision of wages, incentives and allowances.

The unions – DMK-backed NLC Workers Progressive Union (NLCWPU) and the Pattali Thozil Sangam (PTS) affiliated to the PMK – jointly issued the 15-day strike notice Monday as the wage revision talks ended in a deadlock last week.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an NLC official told IANS: ‘The earlier wage agreement expired Jan 1, 2007. Since then talks have been going on.’

According to him, the unions decided to wait for wage settlements in other central government owned companies like Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and have come up with a ‘best of all’ demand.

‘An overall agreement has been reached with the two unions. However, minor differences are holding up the deal. With the pressure from rival unions, it seems the two recognised unions have given a strike call,’ the official said.

‘Our only demand is that the allowance arrears should be calculated for 18 months whereas the management is offering for five months. Otherwise, the wage agreement is a good one,’ general secretary of PTS V. Thilakar told IANS from Neyveli.

As per the deal that is being negotiated, workers will be getting a hike of anything between Rs.7,000-Rs.10,000 per month.

According to the NLC official, the annual wage bill for NLC will go up by around Rs.300 crore after the deal which will be valid for five years.