Workers unions in Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) have given a call for strike from February 16 as the management has not finalized the wage agreement which was due from December 2016. The joint forum of 10 trade unions headed by Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU) has given the call after the government’s intransigent attitude towards the demands of workers.
“The existing wage revision settlement was up to November 30, 2016. From December 1, 2016, the wage revision is in due and the unions were constantly demanding for wage revision. There weren’t any fruitful discussions until October 2017. Following the adamant attitude of the government, unions had demonstrated a massive protest which had witnessed the presence of more than 10,000 employees. From that pressure, the government invited the unions and employees for discussions on October 16, 2017, and October 23, 2017”, S.S. Subramanian of CITU explained the government’s attitude towards the workers while speaking to Newsclick.
“During the meetings in October 2017, the government had come to a nearing conclusion that the wage factor would be increased by 2.57 times. Though the chief minister and electricity minister had agreed to the demands, the finance minister blocked the proposal,” Subramanian added.
Following this, “the unions had decided to protest on January 23, 2018. However, on January 22, one day before the proposed strike, some discussions have taken place between the government officials and union representative and came to an understanding that the revision of wages would be settled before February 12, 2018. Now, they are making unnecessary delays and trying to step back from the agreed demands,” Subramanian further added.
In between, on January 31, 2018, the government declared an interim relief of Rs 2,500 per month to regular employees and Rs 1,250 per month to retired employees from October 2017. The sudden declaration of interim relief accelerated the doubts of workers and unions, said Subramanian explaining the factors which forced the unions to make a strike call.
At present, nearly 83,000 workers and officers are associated with TNEB and unions.