As the stalemate over payment of arrears continued, trade unions such as the Labour Progressive Front (LPF) and the Pattali Thozhir Sangam (PTS) have served a strike notice on the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) management.

General secretary of the LPF R. Gopalan told The Hindu that if no progress is made in resolving the issue, the employees will strike work after June 15.

Wage revision

Wage revision was due from January 1, 2007, and, after 25 rounds of bipartite talks between the trade union leaders and the management, a broad understanding was reached. However, no agreement had been signed till now, Mr. Gopalan said.

The management had agreed to give three per cent increment, 40 per cent common allowance along with 12 per cent mines allowance. But, instead of calculating the arrears from January 1, 2007, the management had said that it would pay the increment arrears for only nine months and allowance for five months. This was not acceptable to the trade unions.

General Secretary of the PTS V. Thilagar said that the management's approach had led to dissatisfaction among workers.

While other public sector undertakings were giving arrears for the entire due period, why should the NLC adopt a different stand, he asked.

The Joint Action Council of 13 other trade unions, including the HMS, the CITU, the ATP and the LLF, had given a separate strike notice about two weeks ago on the same issue.

President of HMS G. Sukumar said that as per the notice, the employees owing allegiance to these unions would have to go on strike from the night shift on Wednesday (June 2).

The arrears payment happened to be the major contentious issue.

However, Mr. Sukumar said that in the light of the strike notice issued by the LPF and the PTS, the JAC would hold discussions among its constituents and take a decision on whether to go ahead with the strike move.