Outsourced employees of the state-run power companies in Madhya Pradesh were allegedly cane-charged by the police during a protest on August 11. The protest was held under the banner of MP Bijali (Power) Outsourced Employees Sangathan and at the heart of the protest was the demand of regularisation of the employees.
The incident took place when workers were staging a dharna at the gate of Ambedkar Park on Link Road number-3, following their protest march which was named as Vachan-Patra Dhayan Akarshan (Attraction to the Election Manifesto) from Chinar Park. Permission for the same had been sought earlier, the workers said.
According to the protestors, Kamal Nath’s Congress government had promised in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly polls that outsourced employees would be regularised.
The three distribution companies – Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, Purv Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company, Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company – and the holding company of these discoms, Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company (MPPMC) employ over 40,000 contractual and outsourced employees.
These outsourced and contractual workers – line man, cable operator etc. – are employed in addition to the permanent workers. The job description of these workers is similar to that of a permanent worker; however the salaries are not same and there are no provisions for social benefits for outsourced and contractual workers – a common practice in other sectors as well.
Newsclick spoke to Ramesh Rathore, President of Madhya Pradesh Samdiva Adhikari Karmchari Mahasangh, a body of contractual workers in discoms, according to whom, outsourced employees have to face huge cuts in their already less salaries, as a part of it goes in commission to the agencies which employ them.
“The numbers of workers employed by these agencies are less than what has been decided as per tender, resulting into an outrageous amount of corruption, which in most of the cases carried out with assistance from the authorities as well,” Rathore said.
Such practices also lead to increased amount of work pressure on an individual worker, he added.
Though the risk that is involved in the job is equal, the outsourced and contractual employees are often deprived of any medical insurance or other benefits that are usually enjoyed by the permanent workers.
According to the protestors, the objective of the protest was to bring to the notice of Chief Minister Kamal Nath about the issues that have been face by the outsourced employees; however, the police prevented them from moving towards his residence and cane-charged them during their “peaceful” protest.
With inputs from PTI