The Madras High Court has directed the striking contract workers of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) not to indulge in any mode of agitation either within or in the vicinity of the installations of the company that disrupts or has the potential to disrupt the corporation's mining and general activities.

In his interim order on a writ petition filed by NLC, represented by its Company Secretary, Justice R. Sudhakar said the workers would not cause any hindrance to the smooth running of the petitioner public utility service. They would desist from any form of obstruction to regular or other workers who reported for duty.

In its petition, the corporation sought to declare the strike by the contract workers, which commenced in the company's units on September 19, illegal and consequently forbear the contract worker unions from indulging in strike or other agitation within or in the vicinity of the corporation's installations.

Petitioner's counsel submitted that conciliation proceedings were on and unmindful of the same, the contract worker unions were on strike, violating the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. Generation of power was being seriously affected. The striking labourers were disrupting mining activity and indulging in agitation.

Counsel for the respondent unions said workers had a right to strike for getting their proper wages, if their grievances were not properly redressed.

He, however, stated that the unions were willing to cooperate with the conciliation process. As the long-felt demand of contract workers for proper wages was not properly considered by the management, they struck work.

Justice Sudhakar said the NLC had prima facie shown inclination for an amicable settlement of the dispute and offered to resolve the same through conciliation. The process was on.

The respondent unions had to seriously consider conciliation before embarking on strike or other forms of agitation.

The Judge said the contract worker unions should not engage in road blocks or any other form of obstruction.

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