Sindh minister accuses KE of sacking employees on ‘ethnic’ basis

Published October 6, 2022
A file photo of Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File
A file photo of Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Wednesday approached the federal government for immediate action against the K-Electric for allegedly terminating the services of a large number of employees mainly on ‘ethnic and linguistic’ grounds.

It also decided to set up a ‘cell’ to redress the grievances of the sacked employees of the power utility and called for an amicable resolution to the issue.

Expressing grave concern and resentment on the ongoing retrenchment of employees in the power utility, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh said that a number of KE employees were either being sacked or forced to tender resignations on one pretext or the other, but mainly on ethnic and linguistic basis.

Talking to Dawn, he said that he had written a letter to Federal Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir inviting his attention to the sacking of the employees by the KE without fulfilling the mandatory requirements of law and procedure.

“This is especially disturbing in the wake of the widespread floods that has already deprived people of the province of livelihood,” he deplored.

Sets up grievances cell; power utility denies ‘unusual attrition’

He said that the energy department had set up a ‘grievance cell’ in consultation with the provincial labour department to receive and process the applications from the aggrieved employees of the power utility.

“The employees’ complaints will be taken up with the management of K-Electric for the amicable resolution of the issue on humanitarian grounds,” he added.

In his letter to the federal energy minister, Minister Shaikh wrote that the services of a large number of KE employees had been terminated without any reason or they were forced to resign.

The energy minister suggested that a workable solution to this problem be found by holding a meeting with KE management in the presence of the federal energy minister.

More utilities at district level

To a question, Mr Shaikh said that the ‘monopoly’ of KE would end in 2023 and more companies would be involved to provide electricity at competitive rates.

He said that the provincial government had already planned to involve different companies at district level for provision of electricity as better facilities would be available to the citizens due to trend of competition.

He said that there were reports regarding the transferring ownership/shares of the KE to another company and added that the provincial government would protect the constitutional rights of the people of Karachi in the matter.

He said that the provincial government was monitoring the situation and following the reports of transfer of ownership of the power utility to another company.

He said that the provincial government would ensure that it would be included in regular consultation at the time of any decision regarding the future of KE.

He said that there were apprehensions that the interests of people would be affected if a unilateral decision was taken regarding the transfer of ownership of the power utility company.

KE denies retrenchment

In response to a question on the matter, a KE spokesperson said that the power utility was committed to providing a safe and enabling environment for its over 10,000 employees as an equal opportunity employer.

“Our company code ensures that there is no discrimination on the basis of language or ethnicity. Our records don’t show any unusual attrition in KE employee base,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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