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NLC workers defy HC, go on strike against Centre’s stake sale plan

Output at Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) was hit after workers defied a Madras High Court order and went on an indefinite strike to protest the Centre’s decision to disinvest a 5 per cent stake in the Navaratna public sector undertaking (PSU). About 30,000 workers at the three lignite mines and as many thermal power stations, including 13,000 contract employees, stopped work from around 9 pm on Wednesday, NLC and trade union officials said.

The strike has led to a 320-MW shorfall in power generation, NLC Public Relations Officer Sridhar said. ‘NLC generated 2,170 MW on Thursday against a full capacity of 2,490 MW.’

Lignite excavation was totally affected on Thursday as all special equipment operators had struck work, informed NLC Deputy Engineer (Mines Division), Krishnamurthy.

On Wednesday the High Court, in an interim order on a petition by the NLC management, restrained the labour unions of the company from going on strike.

The First Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice T Raja issued the stay and ordered notices to be sent to the 18 labour unions cited as respondents by NLC General Manager (HR) M Maheswaran in his petition.

The bench posted the matter for hearing after two weeks. The strike will continue until the Centre gives up its decision to disinvest a 5 per cent stake in the PSU, said DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Front General Secretary S Rajavanniyan.

‘The recognised trade unions and other registered trade unions have resorted to an indefinite strike commencing from the night shift of July 3,’ NLC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

However, about 7,000 engineers and officers of NLC were not participating in the strike, informed Deputy Manager (Projects) G Krishnamurthy.
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