Special Correspondent

"Strike by NLC contract workers will hit power generation"

CUDDALORE: The conciliatory talks held in Chennai to resolve the bonus issue of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation contract labourers failed on Thursday. According to the CITU president V. Muthuvel the management stood firm that it was under no obligation to pay bonus to contract labourers in the talks held by the Deputy Commissioner of Labour Prabhakaran.

The trade union leaders, who participated in the talks, were cut up by the stand of the management. On Friday, the Joint Action Council of the trade unions would meet at Neyveli to decide on the future course of action.

Mr. Muthuvel said the regular employees of the NLC were sure to join the strike of the contract labourers. In that event, the lignite production and power generation would be severely affected, he said. The union leaders had put forth three demands at the talks: minimum bonus of 8.33 per cent, incorporating the bonus clause in contracts, and equal pay for equal works.

He noted that while industrial workers were getting a daily wages of about Rs. 400, the contract labourers were paid only Rs.133 a day, the minimum fixed by the State Government, even though the nature of work for both categories happened to be the same. Mr. Muthuvel further stated that owing to intermittent rain, the lignite production in NLC had fallen by 30-40 per cent.