HYDERABAD/SUKKUR: Employees of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) took out rallies in various parts of the province to protest against the proposed privatisation of power distribution companies.
The Pakistan Electric Power Company reportedly published an advertisement recently for renting nine power distribution companies to private companies through a bidding process on October 21.
Labour unions warned that power supply will be cut to all government offices and series of protests will be held if the government plans to go-ahead with the privatisation.
Addressing a rally of hundreds of enraged workers who chanted slogans against the government in Hyderabad, Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Labours Union President Abdul Latif Nizamani said that privatisation is a conspiracy against the citizens who will be deprived of electricity like Karachiites.
“It will be on the top of affecting over thousands of workers of the company,” he added.
Nizamani accused the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for steering the government’s policy towards privatisation.
We have been advising the government to upgrade thermal power plants to increase production but it is deliberately avoiding it to build pressure for privatisation, he added
Provincial general secretary of the union Iqbal Qaimkhani said privatization process will only be done over their dead bodies. “We will not let anyone snatch our livelihood, which is connected with these power houses.”
Several hundred workers of the union, who gathered from different districts of Sindh, staged a sit-in and burnt tyres outside the residence of Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar in Hyderabad.
In Sukkur, employees under the aegis of Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union protestors burnt tyres and blocked the Minara road for an hour, suspending all traffic between Sukkur and Rohri. The labour leaders claimed that privatization of electricity has proved a failure and one of clear examples is Karachi Electric Supply Company.
Unions fear that the new management of after privatisation will start massive downsizing.
The labour union leader said that Wapda employees know very well how to safeguard their interests and do not fear harsh steps like mass arrests.
Employees of Sindh Electric Power Company (Sepco) also took out a rally in Larkana against privatisation of the distribution company. Employees locked all the offices of Sepco, burnt tyres and held a sit-in.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.
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