Employees of the Karachi Electric Supply Company warned their management at a demonstration on Friday of their intention of staging hunger strikes unto death against planned layoffs.
Mohammad Ikhlaq Khan, chairman of the KESC Labour Union, gave a week’s ultimatum to the management at the demonstration at the Karachi Press Club to withdraw all its plans of sacking around 4,000 workers.
If the demands of the workers were not met, the representatives of the workers would sit on hunger strikes unto death outside the Press Club from Friday, he said.
Khan said that he, along with some other leaders, would join the hunger strike.
The demands of the employees included proper assignment of duties and postings for the thousands of the KESC workers who had been offered the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS).
The leaders of the KESC workers demanded of their management to restore all the fringe benefits, especially medical entitlements, to the concerned employees who were to be targeted under the VSS and that they should not be confined to merely signing their attendance rolls every day without prescribing them official duties and assignments.
The leaders of the KESC employees said that rendering such a large number of their colleagues redundant would backfire as such anti-workers policies would further aggravate the unsatisfactory power supply situation in the city in the sizzling weather.
Haji Shahzad and Usman Baloch, leaders of the KESC Labour Union, and Lateef Mughal and Aslam Samoo of the People’s Workers’ Union of the KESC also addressed the KESC employees and denounced the plans to sack about 4,000 workers of the power utility without considering their vital socio-economic interests.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the KESC said on Friday that various KESC teams disconnected over 3,000 electricity connections in various parts of the city in the last two days under a campaign against power theft and non-payment of electricity bills. The teams also managed to recover revenue of around Rs18 million on account of non-payment of bills.
Meanwhile, members of a KESC technical team, which was assigned the task to replace some faulty pole-mounted transformers, were virtually made hostage in Sultanabad on Thursday night.
The spokesman said the team was mistreated by some people of the area who had been anticipating a crackdown on a large number of illegal electricity connections in the area which had caused frequent overloading of the PMT.
The spokesman said that help from the law-enforcement agencies was sought to get the members of the KESC team freed and to make the situation in the area viable enough for the team to carry out the replacement of the faulty PMT.