Contractual electricity workers in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia have launched a strike from December 2 near the office of the Executive Engineer (Electrical Testing Division), demanding fair wages, ESI and against privatization.
On Saturday, the district administration mercilessly attacked the protesting workers and displaced them from the protest site. Not only this, the administration demolished their tents as well. Such an action illustrates the oppressive and anti-worker nature of the state machinery.
The contract workers are waging a battle to ensure their wages and security. The protesting employees narrate that that no responsible officer of the administration has even talked to them. Infact , the administration called unskilled employees of ITI and pressed them to provide power supply.
Many permanent employees also do not know how to operate the feeder. Most of the work is extracted from contract employees. Only contract workers undertake work on risky electric poles.
The movement of employees confronting power privatization is engulfing the entire country. It has also been backed y many trade unions.
Power supply has been nonexistent in the area since last 2 days. Normal life is also being curtailed by this. There is no water supply in the houses. Children are having difficulty in reading. Electrically operated and charging equipment is completely switched off.
The following demands have been raised
- Contract employees get salary like regular employees.
- The compensation to the family of the deceased contract employee should be increased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
- Social security should be provided against accidents occurring during work. Under this, the facility of ESI and PF should be ensured.
- Facility of ESI hospital in each district and treatment in private hospital should be ensured if needed.
- The tenure of contract employees should be increased from 55 years to 60 years of age.
- Contract employees should be made to work according to their post and qualification. Along with this, the identity card should be provided with the signature of the officer of the department.
- In view of the multifaceted tasks of contract employees, the facility of mobile and travel expenses should be made available.
Contract employees should be given 200 units of electricity free of cost.
- Contract workers should be registered as construction workers in the Labor Department. Not to be registered as a contract worker for the operation and maintenance of the electricity department.
- Contract employees should be given weekly off and extra salary should be given for working more than 8 hours