Light at the end of the tunnel?: Accord ends KESC, labour union standoff

Utility to resume operations, services while workers would end all protests.


Express July 27, 2011

KARACHI:


Following intensive back and forth negotiations for over 15 hours, the three-month old dispute between the management of the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and the labour union finally ended early Tuesday morning.


An accord, signed by the KESC management, labour union collective bargaining agent and the civil administration, called for resumption of the utility’s operations, reopening of its service centres and an immediate end to all protests and sit-ins.

The accord also called for the announcement of a dispute resolution committee (DRC) comprising representatives from KESC, workers and civil administration, within a week. The committee would evaluate each case on an individual basis and its decision would be binding on all stakeholders.

Until the DRC arrives at a final decision, the KESC’s management would not sack any workers nor would the workers resume working at their previous positions. They would, however, be allowed to register their attendance at the utility’s offices.

The accord also called for expeditious disbursement of outstanding packages to workers who had accepted the voluntary separation scheme. The scheme would stay in place for workers who wish to avail it in the future.

There was also an assurance that members of the labour union would not indulge in violence or obstruct the utility’s operations.

Expectations

The accord signals an end to the standoff but several questions persist.

The management and the union have yet to resolve the repositioning of categories for the sacked workers. The time it would take the management to resolve this issue also remains to be seen.

The commissioner says that all workers in surplus pool would be adjusted at work but a well-placed officer in the utility told The Express Tribune that it would be wise to call the signed document a ‘memorandum of understanding’ rather than an agreement.

It appears that around 80% of the disputes have been resolved and the remaining 20% would be addressed soon, said labour union chairman Akhlaq Ahmed Khan while speaking to The Express Tribune.

“The intensions of the KESC management were not good in the past and if try to deviate from the accord, it would not bode well,” said Khan.





Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2011.

COMMENTS (5)

MZJ | 10 years ago | Reply

I really hope that this marks the end of the dispute, yes, we may have suffered in terms of loadshedding, but please know that many of you are better off, i know areas where there are 8 and 10 hours of load shedding. I also know of areas which haven't been receiving electricity phases (2 mostly) since months now. All because the KESC wasn't allowed to be fully operational because of these protestors. Too many times intruders have ransaced and vandalized their offices, and their supply warehouses were also blocked.

Mohammad Ali Siddiqui | 10 years ago | Reply

Despite month’s long agitation with sacked employees, KESC Management has increased the duration of load-shedding hours.

I my area which is called in KESC technical term “Panama Baradari”, the load-shedding hours have increased; the each span is of two hours.

For instance, the light is put off at 11:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs. Same day it goes off from 16:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs. Again it is put off from 22:00 hrs to 00:00 hrs.

Despite such a massive load-shedding, I have received the electricity bill for Rs.6,400/-. For the last two months, the electricity bills are distribute just one day before the last date of payment and many of the area residents are forced to pay late payment surcharge.

Why the area resident’s don’t think to put all the building on solar power energy to get rid off from KESC once and for all.

Thank you KESC for increasing the timings of load-shedding. I know how KESC will act during the holy month of Ramadan.

I will be the first person to leave the country with my family and will never come back to Karachi or any where else in Pakistan, as for me it has been more than two decades that my family and I have become the victims of KESC.

It is open human rights violation which the government does not recognise. What a pity.

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