UP: Power Employees Hold Demonstration Against 'Breach Of Promise' By UPPCL
Lucknow: Five days after the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government failed to ensure the withdrawal of FIRs lodged against power employees and engineers during the recent 72-hour strike, thousands of energy sector employees and state government employees staged a demonstration under the aegis of their newly formed joint forum at Sarojini Naidu Park, Lucknow. They demanded revocation of all legal action, like FIRs, suspension of engineers and termination of services of contractual staff.
Addressing the gathering, the union leaders said no steps had been taken to withdraw the suspension and sack orders issued against over 100 regular staff of the power department and over 1,332 contractual workers even though the Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti called off the 72-hour strike ahead of its schedule.
The joint forum also announced a dharna and demonstration for two hours in all the districts in the state on March 28 to mount pressure on the government to revoke all the cases invoked against power employees.
Read Also: UPPCL Strike Called Off, UP Govt Assures to Implement Dec 3 Agreement
"On March 19, a number of rounds of talks were held with the government officials, and we decided to call off the strike before the scheduled time after the energy minister AK Sharma publicly promised to roll back the "vindictive terminations" and appealed to the employees to go back to work. The minister on camera had instructed chairperson UPPCL M Devraj to withdraw FIRs and suspension and sack orders issued against the employees and their leaders. “But instead of undoing the action, the management continues to take fresh penal action against us with a sense of vengeance," Shailendra Dubey, convener of UP Rajya Vidyut Karmacharis Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, alleged.
Dubey further claimed that even after the strike was called off, the UPPCL has been suspending regular staff who participated in the strike.
The UP Rajya Vidyut Karmacharis Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti has threatened to launch a state-wide agitation if the harassment of power staff is not halted immediately. Around 18 lakh government employees under the joint forum will participate in the protest across the state, it said..
"On March 28, a two-hour dharna and protest will be organised by the employees of government departments, corporations, local bodies and universities in all districts. If the legal action is not withdrawn, the joint forum will go on a massive strike," Dubey told NewsClick.
A joint forum of members of Rajya Karmachari Mahasangh, Rajya Karmachari Sanyukt Parishad, staff of civic bodies, universities, central and state government employee unions, trade unions and others participated in the demonstration.
Amar Nath Yadav, the chairperson of the united forum of all associations speaking to NewsClick, said, "Although AK Sharma has promised to withdraw all cases against striking power employees in a joint conference on March 19, no concrete action has been taken so far even after six days. If the cases are not withdrawn, there will be a massive movement across the state."
Read Also: UP: Over 1 Lakh Employees, Engineers Go on Strike, Minister Threatens NSA, ESMA
Protesting power employees and engineers, who were on a 72-hour strike from midnight of March 16 to press for the implementation of the December 3 agreement across Uttar Pradesh, called off their strike prematurely on Sunday after an assurance from the government.
The decision to call off the strike was taken after the government decided to "look into their demands" and revoke all legal actions- lodging FIRs, suspension of engineers and termination of services of 1,332 contractual staff- initiated against the employees who were part of the stir that threatened to push the state into a severe power crisis.
A total of 1,332 outsourced power staff of UPPCL were sacked by the authorities for participating in the strike as they demanded regularisation of pay, widening the scope of the cashless treatment facility, fulfilment of certain criteria for the chairman selection process, and regularisation of contract workers.
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