Puducherry: Strike by electricity dept staff "illegal", says official

  • | Sunday | 2nd October, 2022

Puducherry, Oct 2 (PTI) The Union Territory administration on Sunday declared as "illegal" the ongoing strike by electricity department staff to protest the decision to privatise power distribution.In a statement, secretary, power department, T Arun said, "The strike is illegal under section 3 (q) of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and employees resorting to strike are liable for action as per rules".He said the period of strike will also be considered "a break in service".The secretary appealed to the staff to call off their agitation and return to their normal duties failing which "necessary action would be taken as per rules".Arun said the government had proposed to privatise power distribution "to increase efficiency and consumer satisfaction". He said "Section 133 of the Electricity Act, 2003, ensured all safeguards, that there would be no shortfall in the salary of employees and they would draw the monthly salary regularly as is being paid at present by the government".He said delegates of the Privatisation Protest committee had assured at the meetings on September 28 and 29 that no section of public would be affected by the agitation or strike.However, "miscreants" have sabotaged functioning of all the three 230 KV sub stations and also overhead lines creating failure of power supply in entire Puducherry region on October 1."This is punishable under law," he said.Arun said the Electricity department is a public utility service department.Employees cannot be allowed to resort to such strike in a public utility service department as they are duty-bound to honour duties cast upon them, he said.Earlier in the day, Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said the government would be constrained to invoke the provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent impact of the strike. PTI COR TDS TDS

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