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JEPCO employees begin strike, say power supply will not be affected

By Muath Freij - May 14,2014 - Last updated at May 14,2014

AMMAN –– An open-ended strike that Jordanian Electric Power Company (JEPCO) workers began on Wednesday will not have a negative impact on the general public, according to the president of the Electricity Workers Union (EWU). 

JEPCO employees gathered outside their company’s premises, calling on management and the government to meet their demands. 

EWU President Ali Hadid said the striking employees, who number around 2,700, want a full month’s salary as an end of service compensation for every year of employment.

Despite the ongoing strike, JEPCO workers will make sure that there are no disruptions in the power supply, Hadid said, but subscribers will not be able to pay their bills.

JEPCO distributes electricity to around 3 million subscribers in the cities of Amman, Zarqa, Salt and Madaba.

The employees also want a JD50 raise added to their basic salaries, a JD50 cost of living allowance, a JD20 increase in hazard pay, a JD90 monthly service allowance and a JD25 allowance for transport department staff.

In addition, they want all employees to have 30 days paid leave, Hadid said.

The union submitted these demands to JEPCO in October 2013, but have received no response, he added, noting that the employees were forced to begin their strike as the company did not agree to their demands. 

A source at JEPCO who spoke on a condition of anonymity said the end of service compensation will cost the company JD2.5 million, while the other demands will cost JD7 million.

“This will increase the financial burdens of the company and result in increasing people’s electricity bills,” he told The Jordan Times. 

The source claimed management offered a compromise to the employees by agreeing to meet several demands at more “reasonable costs”, but they refused. 

“The amount we promised would have cost us around JD3.5 million,” he added, noting that JEPCO has financial problems.  “The company incurred JD10 million in losses last year.”

Mohammad Sakarneh, one of the employees who is taking part in the strike, described their demands as “fair”. 

“We face hazardous conditions while working and we have the right to be adequately compensated,” added Sakarneh, who has been working at the company for seven years.  

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