Karachi Electric Supply Company workers suspend protest till 25th
Karachi: Protesting workers of the Karachi Electric Supply Company on Thursday vacated Fawara Chowk after staging a week-long sit-in on an assurance by Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan that the issues concerning them would be resolved till July 25.
The workers’ main demand is withdrawal of the management decision to place over 4,000 workers in a surplus pool and eventually sack them.
Earlier in separate meetings with top management officials and workers’ representatives, which Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan had promised in his late Wednesday night talks with the protesting union leaders, the governor deliberated upon various aspects of the current crisis due to the standoff.
Dr Ebad directed the Abraj-led KESC management to reduce loadshedding hours by improving power generation and resolve all longstanding issues by being sympathetic towards the workers. He hoped that the gesture would be reciprocated by protesting workers.
During the meeting, Home Minister Manzoor Wassan, Sindh PPP General Secretary Taj Haider and some senior government officials were also present.
He directed the commissioner of Karachi to ensure that there was no obstruction in the operational activity of the KESC.
In his talks with trade union leaders that lasted more than two hours, the Sindh governor said he wanted to become familiar with the actual problems the workers had been facing and that was why he had called this meeting.
He assured them that he would try to resolve their genuine problems within four days and suggested them that they call off their protest until then. He said they would be justified in resuming the protest if he failed to resolve the issue.
He assured them that if required, he would also move to Dubai to convince the Abraj group to resolve the issue.
The workers delegation comprising Akhlaq Ahmad, Usman Baloch, Haji Shehzad, Mateen Sakhrani, Lateef Mughal and Aslam Samoo earlier briefed the provincial governor on their demands.
They said the management had decided to sack over 4,000 workers and hire ‘third-party workers’ to save money in what they said was total disregard of the labour laws of the country.
They said the management was deliberately not increasing its own power generation to save money because it did not have enough working capital to run the utility.
The workers’ representatives said that management policies had affected industrial production and commercial activities in the city, thereby ruining the country’s economy. They also blamed the management for raising tariff by manipulating the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority on one pretext or the other.
They informed the governor that the management was not spending sufficient amount on the maintenance of its network that was resulting in frequent power outages and faults that remained unattended for hours due to lack of expertise.
The delegation urged the governor to ensure reversal of retrenchment plan and withdrawal of false cases against workers by the management.
They also informed him that the management had withheld salaries of many employees.
They said the management had introduced the so-called Voluntary Separation Scheme to deprive 4,500 employees of their livelihoods.
The governor said that he and Home Minister Manzoor Wassan were working to secure their rights and they must wait for a positive outcome.
Shortly after the union leaders’ meeting, the KESC management team also met the Sindh governor and presented its case and also drew his attention to the letter it had addressed to the governor and the chief minister over the administration failure to provide them security.
The governor asked the management to revisit its decision and address workers genuine grievances.
For more information, contact:
Sindh Governor House
Syed Wajahat Ali
Press Secretary to Governor
Tel: 99201217, 99201201-3