NLC trade unions, barring engineers and officers associations, declared an indefinite strike at a meeting held in Neyveli on Wednesday night. Thousands of NLC workers gathered at Labour Progressive Front (LPF) office to hear the strike announcement by the trade union leaders.
LPF general secretary Rajavanniyan formally declared the indefinite strike around 9.30 pm, saying its sole aim was to protect the navaratna company from going into the hands of private entities.
Earlier, all the unions, including the officers association and engineers association, held a closed door meeting at NLC Engineers’ Association’s office.
Sources said representatives of officers and engineers associations backed off from the strike during the closed-door meeting.
When Rajavanniyan announced the strike, thousands of workers welcomed it by shouting slogans condemning disinvestment.
In the general meeting, almost all the leaders of the trade unions criticized the officers and engineers associations for backing off from the protest. Since officers and engineers have decided to go to work, sources said power generation in NLC will not be affected immediately. But after four or five days, five southern states, including Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, may face power shortage.
Meanwhile, trade unions cutting across party lines joined hands at the TNEB office on Wednesday to protest against the disinvestment plan. They argued that the move would bring down the government’s revenue and in the long run make necessities like electricity inaccessible for the common man.
“Every year the government gets a revenue of Rs 466 crores from NLC. On the contrary, if the government sells 5% share, all it will get is around Rs 460 crore. That is a huge loss of revenue for the government,” said Rathnasabha Pillai of Labour Progressive Front. Six trade unions, including the Tamil Nadu Electricity Employees (CITU), LPF (DMK), TNEB Engineers Sangam, TNEB Workers Federation and TNEB Ambedkar Union were among others who took part in the agitation.