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Abolish contract labour, demands Nallakannu

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Senior CPI leader R. Nallakannu addressing striking NLC contract labourers at Neyveli on Friday.
Senior CPI leader R. Nallakannu addressing striking NLC contract labourers at Neyveli on Friday.

A.V. Ragunathan

“Profit-making PSEs such as BHEL and NLC can set an example.”

NEYVELI: R. Nallakannu, a member of the central executive committee of the Communist Party of India, on Friday called for abolition of contract labour in public and private sectors.

Mr. Nallakannu, who was here to address contract labourers on the seventh day of their strike, told The Hindu that the contract system frittered away funds with contractors taking away half of the allocations, leaving very little for the toiling labourers.

Instead, the public sector enterprises (PSEs) could utilise their resources and expertise for taking up the works on their own, thereby ending the discriminatory contract labour system. Profit-making PSEs such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and the Neyveli Lignite Corporation could set an example in this regard.

Mr. Nallakannu came out with the response when asked whether it could be possible to regularise all the 13,000 contract labourers in the NLC.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board had set the trend by absorbing the non-muster roll (NMR) workers.

He said the absence of top ranking officials and deployment of lower rung officials for the conciliatory talks had made a mockery of the negotiation process. When the Madras High Court had directed the NLC management to prepare the seniority list of contract labourers, the latter had sought clarifications just to stall the talks.

Mr. Nallakannu appreciated the efforts taken by Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veeraswami, who had announced in the Assembly that the NLC labour issue would be sorted out within a week in consultation with the Centre. He put the onus on the Centre and the NLC management for resolving the issue amicably.

He said it was ironical that when the farm sector was facing acute shortage of fertilizers, the Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation, a major fertilizers producer, remained closed for the past one year and the NLC had shut down its urea unit some time back.

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