HYDERABAD: The All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union on Thursday threatened to launch countrywide protests if the government did not shelve its plan for the privatisation of national enterprises.
Wapda union workers brought out a rally from the Labour Hall to the local press club in protest against outsourcing of some feeders’ reading and billing functions.
Union president Abdul Latif Nizamani, Sindh general secretary Iqbal Ahmed Khan and others said that they would not allow the privatisation of national enterprises of the country.
They claimed that the union had got stopped privatisation thrice in the past because it was interested only in workers’ employment and justice. The union had always raised voice for the workers, they said.
The union leaders alleged that the government was bent upon privatising the profit-earning organisations of the country. Now the government was going to outsource 11KV feeders’ reading and billing for which applications were sought on Jan 23, they added. Besides, they said, 747 MW Guddu powerhouse’s privatisation was also being planned, but the workers would not allow it, they vowed.
They said the feeders with over 30 per cent losses would be outsourced as far as their reading and billing was concerned. A 13-member committee had been formed by the government under supervision of the finance ministry, having representation of former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, they said.
The feeders would be outsourced under the public private partnership (PPP) plan that was a modern face of privatisation, they said, observing that the government wanted to snatch employment instead of providing jobs.
They said that a new company, an 11th one, had been created under the title of ‘hazara’ which would lead to accumulating losses of Rs2 billion per annum. They disclosed that automated Guddu power plant’s privatisation was also in pipeline and that power house was the cheapest plant of Wadpa. It would be a blunder if that power plant was privatised, they said, adding that all that was being done by the government to appease its foreign masters.
They said the government should run the public sector power houses to produce inexpensive electricity instead of buying expensive energy from the independent power producers. The license of Kotri power house that worked on gas turbine should be renewed, they urged.
The union office-bearers said that their Thursday’s (today) protest was part of a nationwide demonstration being held against that outsourcing. The government neither had any writ nor popularity among the masses and still it was trying to privatise entities like PIA, airports, steel mills, railways and financial institutions.
Accusing the government of trying to the privatise power distribution companies, they said the union would not allow it and would fight it tooth and nail. The leaders reminded the government that 150,000 workers were ‘owners’ of that organisation.
They demanded that the training and examination of the workers by the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) should be held in bigger cities like Hyderabad instead of asking them to report to Lahore in the days of price hike and never ending inflation.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2023
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.