Less than 24 hours after they went on an indefinite strike, the 70,000 employees of state-owned power plants called it off.
On Tuesday, the state government agreed to award the employees a hefty 30 per cent wage hike and pay arrears since April 2008. The new wages will cost the three state-owned power utilities a total of Rs 600 crore.
The strike was called off after State Energy Minister Sunil Tatkare and trade union leaders negotiated over wages for over five hours. “The employees have assured all help and have joined duty immediately,” Tatkare said.
Mohan Bhise, who led the union delegation, said the unions accepted the offer, though they wanted a 45 per cent hike in wages.
The strike, which started on Monday midnight, had crippled the power-starved state further as most thermal generation units had came to halt.
Since Tuesday morning, the power distribution company increased outages in the state, including the city’s eastern suburbs of Kanjur, Bhandup, Thane and Navi Mumbai. A senior official of the power generation company said the situation would normalise by Wednesday afternoon because “a thermal plant needs at least 18 hours to warm up”.