ALL INDIA POWER ENGINEERS' FEDERATION DECLARE STRIKE,
15 lakh power sector employees, engineers on strike: AIPEF
On Wednesday, about 15 workers and engineers in the power sector across the country went on strike in support of the 'Bharat Bandh' call from 10 central trade unions. Employees of the power sector are protesting against the planned changes to the Electricity Act by the Centre, as well as other government privatisation initiatives, which they argue are against the interests of customers and employees. They are also asking that the old pension system be enforced for all workers. Approximately 1.5 million employees and engineers in the power sector, including 25,000 in UP, are on a successful boycott/strike, said Shailendra Dubey, president of the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF). The strike call was given by the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCOEEE), a united forum of electricity employees and engineering unions and federations.
Much of the reforms introduced in the Electricity Act 2003 and the National Tariff Policy is against the common consumer's interests, Dubey said. Under the current tariff policy, with guaranteed income from customers, the private sector would charge the maximum cost of electricity, thereby raising the bills, he alleged. Subventions and cross-subsidies will be phased out in three years under this scheme. Power would become expensive for consumers with the elimination of this cross-subsidy. The proposed change to the electricity law aims to bifurcate the delivery of electricity (distribution infrastructure) and the content of electricity into the carriage (the sale of electricity to the consumer).Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura had the highest participation of employees and engineers. The 10 central trade unions have reported that about 25 crore individuals would participate in the nationwide strike called to protest the labor reforms, FDI, disinvestment, corporatisation and privatisation policies of the union government.