Trade unions of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation have decided to give an “intimation letter” to the management on Tuesday, expressing their displeasure over the Centre’s move to disinvest 5 per cent of the NLC stakes.

According to union sources, the letter would also warn the Centre that if it does not withdraw the move the unions would be compelled to go on strike on any day. The All India Trade Union Congress has made it clear that it would prefer the second option.

There is a difference between an “intimation letter” and a “strike notice.” Once an intimation letter is given to the management, trade unions reserve the right to go on strike at their convenience. The unions would not be bound by the 15-day waiting period as in the case of serving strike notice.

Also, if a strike notice is served, both the management and the government authorities might initiate a time-consuming reconciliation process, which might make the workforce restive.

Justifying the “intimation letter” route, S.Rajavanniyan, secretary of the Labour Progressive Front (affiliated to the Dravida Munentra Kazhagam), told this correspondent that in 2006 this strategy was adopted successfully.

“On June 27, 2006, trade unions gave the intimation letter, but went on a strike on July 4. An identical situation has developed now,” Mr Rajavanniyan said.

Asked whether any section of the employees had reservations to the proposal, he said, “The trade unions want to carry along NLC officers too with them. If officers and employees differ, there would be law and order problem which the trade unions want to avert,” Mr Rajavanniyan said.

He claimed that contract workmen would join hands with regular employees. The NLC officers have sought more time to make their stand known on the divestment issue.

Secretary of the Anna Workers and Staff Union (affiliated to the ruling Anna Dravida Munnera Kazhagam) Rama.Udayakumar said trade unions resolved to hand over the intimation letter to the management on Tuesday.

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