Anti-franchisee engineers get the stick

The unions have also decided to observe April 5 as Anti-Franchisee Day across the state.
April 2, 2011

Anti-franchisee engineers get the stick

NAGPUR: MSEDCL has cracked down hard on engineers who had gone on strike to protest franchising out of Nagpur and Aurangabad divisions. Nine engineers from the district have been punished with break-in-service. A large number of engineers all over the state have got the same punishment but their numbers could not be confirmed. This action has evoked strong reaction from employees.

The joint action committee (JAC) of power unions has decided that all MSEDCL staffers will observe a state-wide bandh from April 26 to 28 against this action. The unions have also decided to observe April 5 as Anti-Franchisee Day across the state.

Union office-bearers claimed the action was patently illegal. Usually strike period was treated as extraordinary leave. At the most, employees on strike are marked absent and pay for the period was deducted. However, break-in-service would mean they would lose their seniority and consequently their gratuity amount too would be reduced.

An engineer said if the company did not rescind its decision, deputy executive engineers who had gone on strike would have to work as trainee junior engineers even though their pay would be protected. Their juniors would become their seniors.

Members of Subordinate Engineers Association (SEA), which include junior, assistant and deputy executive engineers, had gone on three-day strike from February 1 to 3. The other power unions had refused to participate in the strike. Under tremendous pressure from MSEDCL top bosses, SEA withdrew its strike on February 2 evening.

Union leaders said that talks were going on with top officials to have the action withdrawn and a solution was expected by Saturday. On Friday, MSEDCL staffers held gate meetings at company offices in Gaddigodam, Mahal, Gandhibagh and Civil Lines and raised slogans against franchisee system. JAC president Sham Deshmukh told the media that employees were united in their opposition to the franchisee system and that was why none of them had joined Spanco.

"Even though the company bosses did not sanction infra plan for the franchisee area, our members collected record revenue in March in extremely adverse circumstances. The management should take cognizance of this and cancel the franchisee contract," he said.

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