Management and union differ on common seniority list

The conciliatory talks held here on Monday over the issue of absorption of contract workmen into regular jobs in Neyveli Lignite Corporation did not make any headway.

The talks were mediated by Assistant Labour Commissioner P. Selvarajan between the Neyveli Lignite Corporation management and the NLC-Jeeva Oppantha Thozhilalargal Sangam. The talks failed as there could not be any meeting point on the period from which the vacancy list has to be prepared for the purpose of absorption.

The union has already served a strike notice over the alleged delay in preparing the seniority list of contract workmen. District secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress M. Sekar, who was at the talks, said the NLC management has been asked to scrupulously follow the Supreme Court direction and make available the vacancy list for 20 years, that is from 1992 to 2012. However, the management was not ready to concede to the demand but was inclined to prepare the vacancy list only from 2008 which could not be agreed.

The union had already given time to the management till May 18 to act upon its demand and if it failed to do so, the general body of the union would meet on May 20 to chart out the future course of action. It may be noted that the Supreme Court in its recent judgment had observed that the NLC management had to prepare a common seniority list of the contract workmen for the purpose of their absorption. This struck down the practice hitherto followed by the NLC in which it used to induct the senior contract workmen initially into the INDCOSERVE before absorbing them into regular employment.

In the view of the Supreme Court, the INDCOSERVE is just one of the contractors and hence, it has directed the management to prepare the common seniority list, right from the day the contract workmen started working for the private contractors.

At the talks, the management informed the Assistant Labour Commissioner that the process of preparing the common seniority list was on. It took the stand that there was no mention in the Supreme Court judgment about either the time-frame from which the vacancies ought to be declared or the number of contract workmen to be absorbed. The assistant labour commissioner told the union that since the management had agreed to prepare the common seniority list it should drop its proposal to go on strike. Meanwhile, other trade unions such as the CITU and INTUC have asked the management to implement the SC verdict in consultation with the trade unions.