Chennai: The Madras high court on Wednesday restrained the trade unions of Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) from going on indefinite strike from the night of July 3 or any other date thereafter.
The interim injunction was granted by the first bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice T. Raja, on a writ appeal by the NLC represented by its general manager (HR) M. Maheswaran who contended that the PSU was a “public utility service” and that no person employed in a public utility service could go on strike in breach of contract.
“Neither in the interest of the country, which is facing shortage of power, more so in TN, nor in the interest of employees, that the regular working of the mines and power plants should not be hampered,” he said.
It was essential that the larger interests of the nation should prevail over individual views of unions bent upon opposing the disinvestment by the Central government. Painting a grim picture on the impact of the prolonged strike, he said open cast mining involved regular pumping of sub-soil water under controlled conditions.
“If activity is interrupted, the mine area will be flooded with unimaginable consequences and cause permanent loss… lack of lignite will make plants inefficient and cause hurdles in restarting power plants,” he said.
NLC has in its rolls 17,000 employees at Neyveli including about 13,000 in workmen category. About 10,000 contract workers are engaged through contractors for carrying out the mining works.