THE Electricity Employees’ Federation of India (EEFI) has organised a national convention on ‘Equal Wage for Equal Work’ at Mavalankar Auditorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2017. The convention with participation over one thousand workers, employees and engineers from almost all the states and union territories of the country representing central, state and private power utilities, has adopted a resolution towards needful action on the part of the government to ensure implementation of Supreme Court judgment on equal wage for equal work.
The convention has underlined that exploitation of workers in the name of casual / contract / part time engagement, has crossed all limits at various establishments related to generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. National Grid has connected the entire country to wheel power from and to various ends of the country to render best possible services to the people of India, but exploitation of electricity workers of whom 70 percent are engaged on contract, has led the industrial relations in power sector to an explosive situation.
Electricity is in the concurrent list of the constitution of India but the ministry of labour, government of India, has left the industrial relations of the power industry at the sweet will of the respective establishments.
The apex court judgment on October 26, 2016 has noted that “Any act of paying less wages, as compared to others similarly situated constitutes an act of exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position. Undoubtedly, the action is oppressive, suppressive and coercive, as it compels involuntary subjugation.” In the light of above, the national convention on Equal Wage for Equal Work resolved to urge the government of India to:
v Comply apex court order to stop contractorisation of work of permanent/perennial nature.
v Ensure payment of equal wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of same industry.
v Establishment till regularisation of all the contract workers.
v Amend Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of the schedules and fix statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs 18,000 linked with cost price index.
v Remove all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund.
v Ensure pension and social security for all, with increase of the quantum of gratuity.
v Stop FDI in railways, insurance and defense and disinvestment of PSUs.
v Stop transfer of national assets and resources to private hands.
v Put hold upon labour laws amendments which are anti-labour.
v Ensure electricity for all at affordable cost.
The convention was inaugurated by Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU and MP. It was presided over by KO Habeeb, president, EEFI. The resolution of the convention was moved by PN Chowdhury, general secretary, EEFI. The main leaders of all national federations of electricity workers, employees, and engineers, namely Shailendra Dubey (AIPEF), RK Sharma (AIPF) and GK Vaishnav (AIFOPDE) supported the resoluton. S Devroye exhorted all the participants to intensify the struggle. The resolution was adopted unanimously.
A delegation of EEFI comprising KO Habeeb, PN Chowdhury, SS Subrammanian and Subhas Lamba led by Tapan Sen, met the secretary, labour and employment, government of India. A memorandum addressed to labour minister was handed over with a copy of the adopted resolution.