65,000 employees of power companies strike work

65,000 employees of power companies strike work

Pune: As many as 65,000 employees’ of power generation, transmission and distribution companies, including Veej Kamgar Mahasangh, affiliated to Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, went on strike on Monday for their various demands including pro-private government policies in the power sector. 

The trade unions including Maharashtra State Electricity Workers’ Federation, Maharashtra Veej Kamgar Sanghatna (BMS) and Tantrik Kamgar Union (TKU), Sub-ordinate Engineers’ Association, Veej Tantrik Kamgar Sanghatana and Rajya Veej Kamgar Congress (affliated to INTUC) have come together to form a joint action committee of electricity engineers on Common Minimum Programme (CMP), which speaks against the alleged pro-private government policies in the power sector.

“We have been fighting for our rights since 2017 and have made our representation to the government at various platforms, appealing to them to look into our demands, but all in vain. Therefore, we have now decided to go on strike,” said the committee.

“The list of the demands include restructuring of the employees in MAHADISCOM (distribution company) as per the demand by the union. We have pleaded for some minor but important changes in the policy for the company to take care of the employees,” the committee said, adding that the government has been reluctant to solve their problems.

They further demanded immediate suspension of the franchisee/privatisation process of the distribution divisions that is being undertaken by MAHADISCOM. 

However, the MSEDCL spokesperson said that they went on strike because they think their demands have not been fulfilled yet and emphasised that there was no shortage of employees.

“We have enough contractual employees who are ready to face any challenges for any kind of power disruption in Pune or across the State. Till now, we had not received any complaints against the power cut,” said PS Patil, Joint Chief spokesperson of MSEDCL, 
Over one lakh employees of State-owned power utilities and around 15 lakh employees from across the country will join a nationwide two-day strike called by National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE) on January 8 and 9 against the Indian Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2018, enabling privatisation of the power distribution.

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill - which is meant to amend the Electricity Act, 2003 - seeks to bifurcate the distribution function of the power sector into carriage (infrastructure) and the actual sale of electricity (content) to consumers. It proposes that a government company will lay down the wires or the distribution network that carries the electricity up to the consumer, while private companies will do the actual selling of the power.

“The two-day strike is called by NCCOEEE and it will not affect the service in the State. Only two or three unions are a part of it and we have enough employees to take care of the work,” Patil added.

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