Karachi (Friday, April 29, 2011): Large number of employees of the Karachi Electric Supply Company, backed by their Union representative bodies, sat on hunger strike unto death
outside the Karachi Press Club on Friday to protest against the non-assignment of duties by the KESC management to around 4,000 low-cadre employees.
The KESC employees started their hunger strike by sitting on both sides of the road in front of main KPC entrance around 4pm after the one-week ultimatum given by the KESC union leaders on April 22 expired on Friday.
According to President KESC Labour Union (CBA) Usman Baloch, the hunger strike was being attended by the leaders and representatives of the KESC Labour Union, People’s Labour Union, KESUTY and various other trade bodies of the power utility.
These 4,000 employees of the KESC, who were reinstated earlier in January this year on the intervention of the government, waged a vociferous and unanimous struggle by camping outside the KESC head office in Gizri against the downsizing of employees by the KESC management.
He said that the hunger strike by the KESC employees would only end when these 4,000 employees would be assigned proper work since several weeks have passed after their reinstatement on the jobs.
He said that the representatives of various political, labour, and trade bodies had started paying visits to the hunger strikers camp and expressed their solidarity with these workers.
Baloch said that the ultimatum was given one week ago by the leaders of the KESC employees for assigning them duties and restoring their employment-related privileges and fringe benefits, but no progress was made as the attitude of the privatized KESC management remained hostile towards these low-cadre workers.
Earlier on April 22, the KESC employees had once against taken to streets, staged a massive demonstration, and warned to sit on hunger strike unto death against the plans of the power utility’s management to lay off a large number of their colleagues under the “voluntary retirement programme”.
Despite facing stiff resistance from the concerned workers and political circles on the recent sacking of more than 4000 non-core employees under voluntary separation scheme, the KESC management is seen by many as determined to proceed with the “golden handshake” initiative for its low-cadre workers.
(Published in “TheNews” on Saturday, April 30, 2011)