Workers of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation went on indefinite strike from July 3, 2013 in protest against the decision of the Central government to disinvest 5 % shares of the NLC. The call for the strike was called by all the unions of workers of NLC. There are 27,000 workers employed in the NLC.
There was a complete bandh in Neyveli town organized by the traders, to express solidarity with the NLC workers unions.
The NLC management went to the Madras High Court and got the strike declared illegal. 17 workers unions and officers associations were barred from striking.
Defying the court order, the workers unions went ahead with the strike. Howevcr some of the officers associations of NLC, including engineers, withdrew their strike call. This is because they fear that they do not have the protection of the Industrial Disputes Act, and can be summarily dismissed. These officers are being bused with security guards to the different sites of the NLC. The workers unions have called upon the officers associations not to break ranks, but to join the strike. In 2002 and 2006, when the question of disinvestment of NLC was proposed by the then Central Governments, the workers unions and officers associations had together fought against privatization.
Heavy police forces have been deployed in the entire Neyveli Township and peripheral areas to threaten the workers, and crush their strike. The CISF has been deployed in the mines, thermal power stations and office premises. According to the police chief “at least some employees or officials ought to be available to carry on minimal operation required to protect the costly equipment from getting unduly damaged. If such employees encountered any problem in reaching the work spot it would create tension and lead to unrest. Therefore, the police would be duty bound to protect the loyal employees.” This is nothing but strike breaking activity organized by the police. Police forces have been mobilized from all the Northern districts of Tamilnadu, including Cuddalore, Villupuram, Thiruvannamalai, Vellore, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur, besides from Tiruchi.