Work-to-rule stir steps down production considerably

The Neyveli Lignite Corporation has placed under suspension two of its employees on charges of misbehaviour with officials and indiscipline at the work spot. Those who have been suspended are Subramani, employed in the crawler yard of the mines, and Semporselvan, a workshop technician.

While Mr. Subramani reportedly assaulted an official, Semporselvan threw a plate and sambar at an executive and also manhandled a couple of others.

Ever since the employees withdrew the 13-day-old strike launched in protest against the move to disinvest five per cent of the NLC shares, they have resorted to work-to-rule stir.

It has disrupted lignite and power production considerably. For instance, on Sunday the power production was in the region of 1,680MW, a drop of 810MW from the installed capacity of 2,940MW.

The power generation was slightly better than Saturday when it hovered in the region of 1,542MW. The lignite stock is also said to be fast depleting as the volume of mining does not match the requirements of the thermal power stations.

Concerned over the fall in production and abrasive behaviour of the employees, NLC Chairman-cum-Managing Director B. Surender Mohan held talks with the leaders of both the recognised trade unions, appealing to them to give up the work-to-rule stir and restore normality. He reportedly told the union leaders that the Securities and Exchange Board of India has been working out the procedures for transfer of shares to the Tamil Nadu government undertakings as agreed upon. Under such circumstances, industrial disharmony and dislocation in production would dent the image of the company and worsen the power situation.

The growth of the company could be ensured only through mutual trust and cordial relations, he told the union representatives. During the talks, the union leaders put forth other demands such as continuation of the compensatory off benefit and declaration of the strike period as holiday for the employees. According to sources, Mr. Mohan had told them categorically these issues could be taken up only after they give up the work-to-rule agitation. The union leaders, however, did not agree to giving up of the work-to-rule practice if other demands were not conceded. Making their stand explicit, the union leaders abruptly ended the talks.

Meanwhile, the AWSU’s Rama. Udayakumar said that his trade union was neither opposing or supporting the work-to-rule stirhinting that the trade union affiliated to the ruling party was not for a confrontational approach with the management anymore.

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