Pakistan: Power workers hold protest demanding hike in wages, pensions
Lahore [Pakistan], June 15 (ANI): Thousands of electricity workers held a rally in Lahore's Bakhtiar Labour Hall to demand raise in wages and pensions of workers employed in government, semi-government, industrial and commercial sector, banks and media by 30 per cent.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) workers held the protest under the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) Workers Union and demanded the Imran Khan-led government to take steps to prevent tragic accidents of line staff due to shortage of manpower, reported The News International.
The protesters argued that the work was increasing day by day and there were no hirings as there is a ban on recruitment for more than five years. They called on PM Imran Khan to intervene to halt the proposed privatisation of the profitable electricity distribution companies on the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
During the rally, they said that the privatisation of the Karachi Electricity Supply Company had already failed miserably and this was even acknowledged by the Supreme Court.
The News International reported that the workers were carrying national flags and banners in support of their demands. The rally was addressed by veteran trade union leader Khurshid Ahmad along with others.
The protesters demanded Imran Khan to develop a cheaper source of energy including hydel and gas thermal power instead of relying power on high-cost independent power producers (IPPs).
This comes after the electricity load-shedding in Pakistan has intensified as the power shortfall crossed 6,000 MW, creating problems for the masses in sweltering summer.
According to ARY News, the shortfall has intensified due to the suspension of hydro generation from silted Tarbela Dam. The suspension of power generation has caused massive power outages, which also gripped Lahore and other parts of the country's Punjab province.
Meanwhile, the demand of Lahore Electric Power Supply Company has reached up to 5,000 MW, while the supply is short of 1,000 MW. The duration of the load-shedding has also increased across the country and the masses are facing hard times in the ongoing hot season.
Due to this and the extreme heat, citizens of several areas had to face a water shortage. They were unable to switch on their water pumping motors.
Last month, traders had complained that their businesses have collapsed due to frequent power breakdowns, while teachers and students said intermittent and prolonged power cuts have affected their online classes. (ANI)