BERHAMPUR: Leaders of Odisha Bijuli Karmachari Sangh (OBKS) on Sunday threatened to paralyse Southco, the discom company, for its anti-labour activities.
Speaking to mediapersons here on Sunday, OBKS leader Panchanan Jena said the State Government should realise that privatisation of power sector has been a failure leading to exploitation of both consumers and workers. During privatisation in 1999, Southco had 2,69,000 electricity consumers, 73 sub-stations of 33/11 KV capacity and 4,400 employees. Now, the number of consumers has increased to 15 lakh in South Odisha with more than 150 sub-stations of 33/11 KV. But the number of employees in power distribution sector in the region has remained almost the same, Jena said.
With the increase of consumers, the employees’ strength should have been around 20,000. But Southco is managing through outsourcing which is leading to exploitation of the work force. Instead of engaging trained field staff, Southco is only appointing managerial executives, he added.
Most of the field staff are temporary employees. The majority of these temporary workers serve under outsourced firms and are poorly paid. Although the Government has decided to regularise temporary employees after six years of service, this is yet to be implemented by Southco, Jena alleged.
The leaders of OBKS demanded equal pay for workers serving Southco directly or under outsourced companies. They demanded that all temporary workers be regularised. The OBKS has demanded `20 lakh compensation for the families of workers who die while on duty and `five lakh for workers who become handicapped due to serious injury.
If the demands are not fulfilled, the OBKS will resort to agitation and paralyse Southco, they warned.