KATHMANDU, Feb 15: The agitating workers hired by Himal Power Limited (HPL) have resumed 12-hour hunger strike on Wednesday after government-mediated talks with the management failed to yield results in their favor.
They even warned of sitting on a fast-unto-death if they are not reinstated to their posts within a week.
The employees of the company that operates 60MW Khimti I hydropower project had launched similar protest on Dec 16 after they found their jobs taken away by recruits of G4S, an outsourcing company. But it was called off on Jan 15 upon request from the government and after the power company agreed to temporarily put labor outsourcing agreement with G4S on hold.
“Since then, we´ve held couple of rounds of talks with the management but they do not seem to be interested in reinstating us in the company,” Ramesh Maharjan, one of the protesting workers, told Republica.
The company is not agreeing to enroll protesting employees in its payroll saying that they are not regular employees of HPL and were recruited by an outsourcing firm called Khimti Services Private Limited.
Khimti Services, in turn, was created around 11 years ago by transferring 89 employees of Himal Power, who were working as cook, security guards, drivers, gardeners and janitors.
But on Dec 15, the power company terminated its contract with Khimti Services citing "lack of transparency in structure, policies, procedures and audited financials", rendering all 89 workers jobless.
“We now want the management of Himal Power, which had earlier transferred us to Khimti Services, to bring us back into the company,” protesting workers said.
This demand, however, is not acceptable to the power company as “people working as cook, security guards, drivers, gardeners and janitors are not required in its core business of power production”.
The Ministry of Labor and Transport Management, meanwhile, has called a meeting on Thursday to discuss the issues.