Coal Minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal on Friday appealed to the Tamil Nadu based Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) trade unions not go on strike and let the company function in harmony as the decision on stake sale was taken under compulsion.

"We request the trade unions of NLC to let the company function smoothly. The decision to divest stake in the company was taken under compulsion as we had no alternative but to comply with the SEBI guideline to make the company compliant with the minimum public shareholding norms",’ Mr. Jaiswal said in New Delhi. NLC had on Thursday said that its recognised and registered unions have threatened to go on indefinite strike against the government's decision to divest stake in the company.

The move of the trade unions comes a week after the Cabinet gave a go ahead to five per cent stake sale in NLC. The company is faced with series of protests after the disinvestment decisions with 17 trade unions representing its 17,000 employees have announcing their decision to go on indefinite strike from the midnight of July 3, 2013 till the decision of disinvestment is withdrawn. The Cabinet, on June 21, cleared government's 5 per cent stake sale in NLC, which would help garner around Rs. 466 crore for the exchequer.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha urged the Centre to reconsider the decision to disinvest shares in NLC. Various political parties in the state have also protested against the decision. In fact, Ms. Jayalalithaa had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month, opposing disinvestment in the integrated mining-cum-power generating company. SEBI has set a deadline of August 2013 for all listed central public sector units to have a minimum 10 per cent public shareholding.