KESC workers turn down chief’s truce offerings


Protesting workers of the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) on Wednesday turned down the truce offerings made by the power utility’s chief executive officer, Tabish Gauhar, and vowed to continue their show of dissent till such time that the company did not back down on the matter of sacking them.
Gauhar, in a press held earlier in the day, broke his silence over the matter for the first time since the workers went on the current wave of protests. While extending an invitation for dialogue to “non-core personnel”, Gauhar requested the “core personnel” to return to work.
“The KESC will not compromise on rules and regulations. The problem will either be resolved through dialogue or through courts, but not on the streets,” Gauhar argued. He said that despite being over-staffed, 6,500 employees were regularised last year, and now, the KESC management has formed a human resource committee to resolve the issue. He urged protesting employees to sit with the management and chalk out a solution based on “ground realities.”
Gauhar also said that improved fuel supply to power generation units, end to electricity theft and regular billing could help end load shedding. “We need uninterrupted and smooth supply of gas and furnace oil to our power generation units,” he said, claiming that there was no deliberate attempt by the KESC management to resort to load shedding. He added that the billing system has been improved to a great extent.
Slating the power riots and attacks on KESC offices, Gauhar alleged that some “hidden elements” are involved in various acts of violence against the KESC. He was of the view that any differences between the KESC management and its employees should not cause inconvenience to customers.
In response to a question about measures taken by the KESC to improve power production, he said that a bio-fuel gas project has already been launched in Landhi area while a 700MW plant will also start production later this year. “During the last two-and-a-half years, 400 MW power supply has been added into the system,” he added.
On the other hand, though, the protesting employees turned down Gauhar’s offer and termed the KESC CEO’s offer as another “delay tactic.” Chief of the workers unions’ collective bargaining agency, Ayaz Mengal, announced that the workers will continue their protest and requested all colleagues to join them. He claimed that KESC officials did not call them for any dialogue, and thus, the protest will continue till the acceptance of their demands.
Meanwhile, those KESC staffers who went to work were sent home by their colleagues.