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Saturday, March 25, 2023

U.P. govt. issues stern warning to electricity workers on strike

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Uttar Pradesh electricity department employees performing ‘havan’ in Varanasi on Friday
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday has issued a stern warning to the protesting employees of the State’s electricity department, asking them to join their duties by 6 p.m. or face legal and disciplinary action.

The employees went on strike from Thursday, demanding the regularisation of pay, the regularisation of contract workers, reintroduction of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), rolling back of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022, among other issues.

So far, the Uttar Pradesh government lodged an FIR against 29 workers and terminated services of 1,332 contract workers during the ongoing strike. “The Uttar Pradesh government has given bonus to the employees despite the losses in the electricity department. If the striking employees do not return to work by 6 p.m., there will be no delay in sacking them. So far, 1,332 contract workers have been sacked,” said State Energy Minister Arvind Sharma.

Since Thursday, roughly one lakh employees and engineers of the power department across the State have joined the strike ogranised under the banner of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti.

Due to the strike, maintenance, repair and redressing of public grievances related to electricity in the state have been affected.

Earlier, the government had threatened to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) if public properties are damaged during the strike. “The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) has been invoked against the employees across the state. If those employees involved in the strike damages properties or found preventing others from performing their duties, then the NSA will be invoked,” said the Minister to reporters.

The employees in the Uttar Pradesh strike got support from various quarters, including the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees & Engineers (NCCOEEE) –– a pan India grouping of various federations of electricity employees and engineers –– extending solidarity with the striking employees

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