A section of the contract workmen owing allegiance to the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), led by its district secretary M. Sekar, attempted to block rail traffic at Mandarakuppam near here on Thursday to draw the attention of the Centre and the Neyveli Lignite Corporation to their demands.

The police personnel who were present in good strength at Mandarakuppam stopped about 100 contract workmen well ahead of the railway station and took them into custody.

Mr. Sekar said, “The 13,000-strong contract workmen have been waging a battle against the management for regularisation as per the Supreme Court direction.” However, the management had adopted a dilatory tactics in the preparation of the seniority list of the contract workmen. Mr. Sekar said the AITUC was also insisting upon the Centre to give up the move to divest five per cent of the NLC shares.

General secretary of the NLC Jeeva Oppantha Thozhilalar Sangam K. Venkatesan told The Hindu that the contract workmen were denied wages for the month of June. Generally, wages would be paid between seventh and 10th of every month. When the contract workmen approached the officials seeking wages for June, the officials told them that they would get their wages only when they report for duty.

Mr. Venkatesan said the union would convene a general body meeting on Friday to take stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, members of the NLC trade unions fanned out the entire Neyveli Township distributing handbills at the doorsteps of the executives and engineers seeking their support to the ongoing strike.

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