October 01, 2023

J&K Power Employees Organise Protests

THE Electricity Employees Federation of India (EEFI) congratulated the Jammu and Kashmir Power Employees and Workers United Front (JKPEWUF) for organising a 48-hour strike programme on September 25 and 26. JKPEWUF, a joint platform of all trade unions in the Power Development Department (PDD) in J&K, represents a workforce of 21,000 people.

Engineers and employees of the Power Development Department have faced significant economic hardships in recent months due to unexpected delays and irregularities in receiving salaries from the government. Even daily-rated workers experience wage delays until the last week of the month. Approximately 4,000 technical and 750 engineering sanctioned posts remain vacant, causing disruptions in power services and inconveniencing citizens, particularly during the peak summer season. The burden of additional work and charges has left all workers exhausted, with management unilaterally altering the employment statuses of many employees, further exacerbating the situation, stated EEFI.

EEFI highlighted that the J&K Power Development Department was forcefully unbundled and corporatised through a government order on October 22, 2019, into five companies: J&K Power Corporation Ltd (JKPCL), J&K Power Transmission Corporation Ltd  (JKPTCL), Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Ltd (JPDCL), Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Ltd (KPDCL), and Ladakh Power Corporation Ltd (LPCL), just after the conversion of the state into three union territories. Power employees fought valiantly against this unbundling, reaching an agreement between the PDD and unions on December 21, 2021, outlining the government's responsibility to immediately fulfill the accepted legitimate demands of the agitating employees, including regularisation of daily rated workers, promotions, and seniority.

As two years approach completion, no definitive measures have been taken to secure the payment and role of power employees as government servicemen or to resolve their long-pending issues, including the implementation of the last agreement.

Following a series of various forms of agitation, J&K power employees conducted 24-hour protest demonstrations on September 9, raising their demands to the administration. Faced with reluctance from the authorities, the only recourse left was a strike. Consequently, all power employees and engineers of J&K were compelled to engage in a strike on September 25 and 26.

EEFI, in collaboration with its J&K constituent, the Non-Gazetted Electrical Employees Association, urged the J&K administration to promptly intervene and resolve the pending issues of the agitating power employees; failure to do so will inevitably lead to strong protests and disruption in power services throughout J&K. EEFI called upon its constituents from all over the country to stand beside their fellow power employees of J&K and express strong solidarity through all possible actions.