Electricity workers call off strike after govt assurances

24-06-2013 02:27 PM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - Jordan's Electricity sector workers retracted from their decision to go on an open strike late on Monday after a meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

Electricity workers from seven electricity companies had threatened work stoppage starting on Tuesday after the Ministry of Energy announced canceling the 75 percent electricity discount given to over 10,000 electricity sector workers as part of their job privileges.

The workers, under the banner of the "General Trade Union for Electricity Workers," blasted the decision, citing that the electricity discount was granted to the workers by the late King Hussein in 1961 in honor of their service to the country.

The trade sent a memo to concerned authorities threatening to go on strike if any of the rights and privileges of workers are affected.

Following a meeting with Ensour on Monday evening, the workers decided to suspend their announced strike after the government assured them that the discount would remain.

Ensour reportedly denied during his meeting with representatives of the electricity sector media reports that the government plans to cancel the discount in an effort to reduce the Kingdom's energy bill.

Head of the Electricity Workers Union Ali Al Hadid said that the discount was codified in accordance with labor rights, citing that the government does not have the authority to scrap agreements between trade unions and companies.

The discount is calculated as part of the workers' salaries, awarded to them for hazardous work conditions, Al Hadid told Ammon News.

The discount amounts to nearly JD 4 million annually, and "does not constitute a large share of the electricity bill at the National Electric Power Company," according to Hadid, who blamed the deficit of the company on privatization deals rather than workers' discounts.

The reports on the government's intent to scrap the discount noted that the decision comes in accordance with new electricity tariffs of the 2013 budget.

The government recently announced new electricity pricing regulations which would incur a 15 percent increase on residential electricity bills that consume over 600 kilowatts/hour monthly, and whose bills exceed JD 50.

The new regulations are set to go into effect starting in 2014.

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