The employees on duty trooped out of lignite mines at around 8 pm, signalling the start of the strike, called by 13 trade unions yesterday following failure of talks between them and the management over the wage issue.

NLC Deputy General Manager R Ramachandran told reporters here that 1,600 Central Industrial Security Force and police personnel had been posted at the mines, thermal power station and the company offices for security purpose in view of the strike.

He said about 6,000 engineers and officers were not taking part in the strike.

Contract workers were also attending to the work and hence operation of three thermal plants of the NLC which totally generate 2,490 mw per day would not be affected, he added.

The decision to go on strike was taken at a meeting of the Joint Action Council of the trade unions including CITU, INTUC, AITUC and AIADMK union on Sunday.

The talks held here on July 17 failed to break the deadlock with the management sticking to its stand of offering only 10 percent increase in salary while the unions demanded 24 percent hike, he said.
NLC Chairman and Managing Director B Surender Mohan had termed the strike call as 'illegal' saying the 'negotiations' were still on and asked the trade unions to reconsider it.

Wage revision in the public sector giant is implemented once every five years. However, the last revision was in 2007.

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