Electricity workers in Jordan continue work stoppages

Published April 15th, 2012 - 06:36 GMT
The employees want the company to raise their basic salaries
The employees want the company to raise their basic salaries

An ongoing, open-ended strike by Jordanian Electric Power Company (JEPCO) workers is hurting the company’s finances, JEPCO Director General Marwan Bushnaq said on Saturday. 

JEPCO workers have been on strike since April 8, demanding four months bonus salary each year, end-of-service allowances, better health insurance and transportation services for all workers. Bushnaq explained that because employees have been refusing bill payments from subscribers, the company is owed around JD5 million in payments. 

JEPCO has urged its subscribers to pay their bills at post offices and banks. The company director emphasised that only half of the staff at JEPCO’s control centre and emergency offices are currently working, contradicting Ahmad Meri, president of the JEPCO employees’ independent union, who said on Thursday that all employees at these locations had resumed work.

Meri could not be reached for comment, despite several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact him. Bushnaq repeated that the company was considering taking legal action against its employees because both their union and the strike are illegal. “We are still in contact with the ministries of labour and interior to resolve the issue,” he stated, adding that he did not expect the problem to be resolved in the coming days. 

Meanwhile, employees of the Central Electricity Generating Company (CEGCO), who began an open-ended strike on April 3, have no intention of returning to work until CEGCO meets their demands, Ali Hadid, the president of the Electricity Workers Union, told The Jordan Times.

The employees want the company to raise their basic salaries, modify a new salary scale system it has been applying since the beginning of this year and cover the full cost of their healthcare insurance. He said union and company representatives would meet with Minister of Labour Maher Wakid and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Qutaiba Abu Qura on Sunday to discuss the issue.

Hadid reiterated that the strike would not lead to disruptions in power supply as night shift staff were not taking part in the work stoppage. CEGCO is the largest power generator in Jordan, with seven power generation complexes nationwide totalling circa 1700MW of installed power capacity from a mixed portfolio of technology and fuel types meeting around 51 per cent of the country’s current market share. 

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