Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
Under the banner of Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti thousands of power employees and engineers from all over Uttar Pradesh held a protest in Lucknow on 18 November 2022 against the pay anomalies and ‘dictatorial attitude of Power Corporation’.
More than five hundred engineers and employees have already been on an indefinite sit-in protest since 16 November 2022 at Shakti Bhawan in Lucknow. The protesting employees said the notice to boycott work indefinitely in all power corporations had already been sent to the Additional Chief Secretary (Energy). This time, they will not compromise under any circumstances. If demands are not met within the stipulated period, they will intensify their protests.
Protest meetings are planned to be held on November 21 from 3 pm to 5 pm in all the districts, including Lucknow. On November 22, a memorandum will be handed over to the public representatives. A torchlight procession will be taken out at the headquarters on November 28 at 5 pm.
Power employees are also demanding restoration of the Old Pension Scheme and regularisation of all outsourced employees.
All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) Chairman Shailendra Dubey said, “Although Lok Sabha has referred Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 to the Standing Committee on Energy, till date, the Standing Committee has not held any discussions with power employees or electricity consumers who are the biggest stakeholders.”
“Unless the government takes back its decision, the agitation would further be intensified as the steps taken by the government in the name of reforms had placed power distribution companies (discoms) in an alarming financial crisis”, said the AIPEF Chairman.
The employees criticised the government’s apathy in resolving their grievances and blamed it for reneging on its promise to pay wages.
“Despite the fact that I have put in more than six years of service, I have not been regularised,” said an assistant linesman, who is paid just Rs 8,000 per month.
Key demands of power employees are:
- The anomalies in the salaries of the employees should be removed.
- Three promotion pay scales should be given after nine years, a total of 14 years and 19 years of service.
- Bonus should be paid to electricity workers pending for many years.
- A cashless treatment facility should be provided to all electricity workers.
- Power Sector Employees Protection Act should be implemented for the safety of power employees.
- The privatisation of Agra and Greater Noida distribution should be cancelled.
- The order of privatisation of the transformer workshop should be withdrawn immediately,
- The decision to run 765/400/220 power substations through outsourcing should be cancelled.
- Selection be made for the posts of the chairperson, managing directors and directors under the prescribed selection process.
- Orders for the purchase of meters worth about Rs 25,000 crore should be cancelled to stop corruption and extravagance.