Kolkata – CESC contract workers on strike

October 11, 2010

Press Release of CESC LTD. (Mains Dept.) Contractor’s Majdoor Sangh, October 6

Click here to obtain the Bengali pamphlet on the strike

We, the contract workers of the CESC, are engaged in ensuring the distribution of electricity in Greater Kolkata,Hoogly, Howrah,South and North 24 Pgs. i.e. we are solely responsible for laying new lines and repairing faults. Though it is an electrical job (for which we have to often pay with our lives); the CESC has designated us as “road construction workers” and treating us accordingly. Most of us are toiling as low-payee contract workers for 20-25 years at a stretch.

Being a majority union of these contract workers, we have been urging the CESC management to settle our charter of demand for three running years but they remain heedless to us. Our main demand consists of: a) our recognition as electrical workers of the CESC and b) Equal pay for equal work. c) Guarantee of 26 days’ work for all contract workers. We had submitted our demands, including the above two, before the Labour Commissioner four years ago. The management was compelled to appear before the Labor Commissioner when our workers threatened them to go for continuous strike before last Puja. But they informed us in that meeting that they could do nothing about our charter of demand as they had already signed a bipartite agreement with four other unions.

We have already informed the matter to the Minister of Power and the Minister of Labour, Govt. of West Bengal and also to the Governor of West Bengal . But no action is taken till date. The workers often wonder that whether democracy really exist for them, for the poor people of the land. Otherwise how can the voice of a majority union be thus ignored not only by the management, but by the administration, by the Govt. too?. The management of M/s. P.M.Enterprises, 61, Surya Sen Street, Kolkata –700009 suspended 32 workmen as they left his pet union CITU . Thus they curbs workers’ right to be organized too.

Though engaged in ensuring supply of electricity to all establishments in Greater Kolkata, the life of contract workers in CESC are doomed to darkness. They have no job security, let alone the complete absence of personal security and safety: the death of 2/3 workers every month is in the way of normality.

In the meantime we have lost one of our leading comrades, Late Ramprabesh Singh, when goons of the ruling Party murdered him before our own eyes and in broad daylight at the busy Parama Island, Kolkata, during a strike on 10 March, 2007. The murderers are still roaming free.

This situation compelled us to go for a indefinite strike from 6thOctober, 2010.

Thanking You,
Yours sincerely
Shyamsundar Ram