Karnataka is facing an indefinite strike by the employees of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) and all five electricity supply companies in the state. The strike, which started on Thursday, was called by around 60,000 employees, including linesmen and engineers, who are seeking a wage revision. While the employee unions have promised that there will be no disruption to power supply, the strike will impact thousands of offices across the state, as no administrative work will be performed, including addressing consumer grievances.
The electricity in Karnataka is generated by the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), transmitted by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL), and distributed by five Electricity Supply Companies (Escoms), including BESCOM, MESCOM, HESCOM, GESCOM, and CESC. Union leaders have stated that the government and the management of the power companies have been ignoring their demands for a raise in salary, despite issuing strike memos. The employees will stay at home and withhold from duty until their wage hike demands are met.
The union leaders have been seeking a wage revision since April 2022, and according to them, their salaries should have been hiked by 22 per cent, as per the previous decision approved by the KPTCL board. However, the government has kept the proposal pending till date. The top leadership of the KPTCL Employees’ Association and Federation, K Balaram, said that the government appears to listen only if employees stage a protest, adding that it has been considerate of other employees but not them.
While the union leaders have promised that they will continue to serve hospitals/medical establishments and water supply installations with technical services, they have stated that they will not be available to address consumers’ problems in case of any technical problems. This strike is likely to have a significant impact on residents of several parts of Karnataka, including its capital city Bengaluru, as administrative work will come to a halt, and addressing consumer grievances will not be performed.
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