NEA trade unions up in arms against Ghising

Published On: November 12, 2016 01:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 12: At a time when Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is chalking out plans to eradicate load-shedding altogether under the leadership of its newly appointed managing director Kulman Ghising, two trade unions of the power utility are playing spoilsport.

Issuing a joint statement on Friday, the two trade unions of NEA - the NEA Employees' Union and NEA Employees' Association -- have threatened to bar Ghising from entering NEA premises, accusing him of neglecting their demands and handling NEA in an arbitrary manner.

Ram Kumar Thebe, senior vice president of the union, said that they took the decision to pile pressure on the management to address their demands. “We had gathered at the managing director's office on Wednesday to draw his attention on several issues. But the management sought police help and five, including me, were arrested and released later," Thebe said.

The NEA Employees' Union is associated with the CPN-UML, while the NEA Employees' Association is affiliated to the ruling Nepali Congress. Many NEA workers, affiliated to trade unions, draw salary from NEA without doing any work. 

Overstaffing, particularly in non-technical work, is one of the major problems faced by the NEA.

The trade unions were adamant that the former managing director Mukesh Raj Kaphle continue as the NEA boss. However, Kaphle resigned, coming under pressure of the new government. They are now lobbying to reinstate NEA Board Member Suraj Lamichhane who was removed by former energy minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Lamichhane.

The trade unions have been arguing that the NEA board is incomplete without Lamichhane. They have also demanded that all undergoing recruitment process be halted.

When journalists wanted to know the view of trade union leaders on remarkable progress in power supply in recent days, Thebe said Ghising has cut dedicated feeder supply to industries and prohibited them to operate for four hours in the evening.

Talking to Republica, Ghising said he has not been barred from entering NEA premises. “I haven't received any such earning. I agree that there was a dispute between trade unions. It has already been settled,” added Ghising. 

Earlier, few deputy managing directors had protested Ghising's promotion to the post of managing director, saying that the promotion was against law. 

A case against Ghising's promotion is sub judice at the Supreme Court.

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