Power sector employees in Uttar Pradesh called off their three-day strike after an agreement was reached with the government on Sunday (19 March).
The strike, which started on Thursday (16 March), was called off after 64 hours following a detailed round of discussion with the Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Arvind Kumar Sharma.
The Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti (VKSSS) convenor Shailendra Dubey said that after the assurance from the government, the power employees had decided to call off the strike and give time to the government to implement the 3 December 2022 agreement.
”Respecting the directions of the Chief Minister (Yogi Adityanath), the positive dialogue with the energy minister, and respecting the high court, we have decided to call off our 72-hour symbolic protest one day in advance in view of massive public interest,” Dubey said on Sunday.
“The minister has also directed the UPPCL management to repeal all the penal actions, including FIRs against striking employees and their leaders or termination of employees during the strike,” he added.
The state government had evoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on striking employee leaders and an FIR was lodged against 22 of them.
The UP Power Corporation Ltd. had also terminated the services of more than 1,332 contractual employees who were participating in the strike.
On 17 March, even the Allahabad High Court had issued bailable warrants against the office bearers of the VKSSS, including its organiser Shailendra Dubey and others, asking them to appear before the court 20 March.
Why were the employees on strike?
The employees had alleged that their demands relating to pay anomalies and outsourcing of operations and maintenance of power sub-stations, agreed to by the government in December last year, were not met even after three months.
VKSSS also went on a strike in October 2020 against the privatisation of the Purvanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited, the Varanasi discom. The strike resulted in the government withdrawing the privatisation plan for electricity distribution companies in Uttar Pradesh.
The power strike had created a disruption in electricity supply to several areas in the state for two days and reports of disturbances in law and order had also surfaced. The situation seems to be going back to normal now.