Much to the disenchantment of employees, the privatised Karachi Electric Supply Company on Friday announced a Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) for its 4,500 non-technical workforce, with the power utility’s labour union leaders warning that they would resist any such move.
A statement issued on Friday by the KESC termed the scheme fair and in the benefit of its 4,500 workmen engaged in “non-core functions” such as drivers, office attendants, security guards, sanitary workers etc.
A spokesman for the KESC said the offered programme would be purely on voluntary basis and no one would be forced to accept it. “It will not affect the technical and skilled labourers.” A similar voluntary separation programme offered to the workers of the privatised Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited in late 2007 led to serious commotion and protests across the country.
The KESC Labour Union said that it was not taken into confidence or consulted on the VSS and it would resist its implementation. Immediately after the KESC’s scheme came to fore, a large number of workers took out a rally from the KESC Elander Road Power till the Karachi Press Club to protest against the power utility’s move.
Outside the press club, leaders of the workers’ union delivered speeches against the voluntary retirement scheme, terming it a conspiracy against the KESC. They said the KESC management should take back the programme as it was causing commotion and restlessness among the utility’s workers. “Otherwise, the KESC workforce would initiate a struggle against the voluntary retirement scheme under which option of legal recourse could also be adopted.”
The central committee of the KESC Labour Union also held an emergency meeting on Friday evening to evolve a strategy against the VSS. Haji Shahzad, General-Secretary of the KESC Lanbour Union, told The News that the utility’s labour union would not resort to any overt agitation, but would lobby for raising awareness among the stakeholders regarding the offered scheme.
Muhammad Ikhlaq Khan, Chairman KESC Labour Union, said the way letters were delivered to certain employees, offering them the Separation Scheme, it seems that the targeted employees will be forced to accept the voluntary retirement programme.
The KESC Labour Union said the KESC management should take back the voluntary separation programme as it was not in the interest of the employees. He said the labour union had the power and influence not to accept any decision that is not in the interest of the KESC employees.
Commenting on the voluntary retirement programme, Choudhry Mazhar Ali of the KESC Shareholders’ Association said if the management wanted to lessen its financial burden and liabilities it should layoff the number of its high-ranking management staff it hired over the period of two years on exorbitant emoluments.
He said the KESC management should not consider these low-cadre and low-wage workers as a liability and it should refrain them making them jobless after offering a few hundred thousands rupees, as it would have grave repercussions for the society already abound with menace of unemployment. It is these high-ranking and highly paid management officials lately hired by the KESC current management, which should be considered as non-essential for the utility, he said.
According the KESC announcement, the power utility is offering handsome benefits to employees under the Voluntary Separation Scheme. It added that all non-management employees and regular workmen in non-core roles below 59 years of age are eligible to benefit from this scheme. However, those employees who are on probation, contract or have resigned from the company are not eligible.
Sources privy to the VSS affairs in the KESC said the present utility management has been considering to completely outsourcing several of its functions performed by the selected group of employees who are now declared non-core or non-essential.
(Published in “TheNews” on Saturday, January 01, 2011)
KESC offers VSS to 4,500 staffers:
KARACHI: The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has announced a “fair and competitive Voluntary Separation Scheme” (VSS) to 4,5OO of its non-management staff and workmen engaged in non-core functions, such as drivers, office attendants, security guards, sanitary workers, etc.
An announcement here on Friday said that the company is offering handsome benefits to employees taking advantage of this Voluntary Separation Scheme.
It said that all statutory dues and Ex-Gratia Payouts (minimum of 25 basics, maximum of 85 basics with minimum pay-out of Rs 700,000) will be paid to employees who decide to benefit from this one-time scheme.
The statement further pointed out that all those non-management employees and regular worker in non-core roles who are below 59 years of age are eligible to benefit from this scheme.
However, those employees who are on probation, contract or have resigned from the company already are not eligible-APP
(Published in “Business Recorder” on Saturday, January 1, 2011)