The Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) management is likely to release the common seniority list of contract workmen for the purpose of regularization by the end of this month.

An understanding to this effect was reached during the tripartite talks held under Assistant Labour Commissioner (ALC) P. Sivarajan at Puducherry on Tuesday in which NLC general manager Maheswaran and president of the NLC Jeeva Oppantha Thozhilalar Sangam P.Venkatesan participated.

It is reliably learnt that following the Supreme Court direction, the NLC has already prepared a common seniority list of contract workmen which has been accepted by the trade union. However, the list could not be made public because of the 13-day strike launched by the NLC trade unions against the Centre’s move to divest five per cent of NLC shares.

NLC officials had specifically told the ALC that the company could not work under any pressure or forced to meet a timeline since various aspects have to be duly weighed before determining the seniority of the contract workmen.

Now, the NLC management has constituted a committee to look into the grievances, if any, of the contract workmen who find place in the list. Only after looking into these issues, the final list could be arrived at. The trade union too has almost endorsed the view of the management, sources said.

Mr Venkatesan told The Hindu that the management had already prepared a common seniority list of 10,637 workmen. Of them, about 2,000 were either retired or died and uncertainty prevailed in fixing seniority for 2,000 workmen.The management had sought at least 20 details from the contract workmen such as the name of the contractor they were working and for how long. For ensuring authenticity, the management could also refer these details to the vigilance department to make doubly sure that only the deserving candidates were regularised.

It would be a smooth passage up to getting enrolment with the Indcoserve because the contract workmen would be getting the same wages with the Indcoserve or with the contractors. “But when it comes to actual regularisation, the NLC management would have to peruse the records and other proof submitted by the workmen to determine their real seniority. If there is any break in service, this should also be taken into account,” Mr. Venkatesan said.

The union leader also noted that the possibility of workmen producing falsified certificates and service could not be ruled out. For instance, one person had produced documents to the effect that he had been engaged as a contract workman from 1995, but a cursory verification revealed that he served as an apprentice with the NLC in 1995 which could not be treated as service.

Some might even manage to get certificates with inflated service period. “As the union does not have the details of the service status of its members, the process of regularisation will be tough,” he said.

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