(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Employees of the Central Electricity Generating Company (CEGCO) plan to go on strike today across the company's seven branches despite several attempts by the company's management to head off a work stoppage.
Electricity Workers Union (EWU) President Ali Hadid said the strike would continue until the company meets the employees' demands, but added thatservices would not be affected as night shift workers will not join the work stoppage.
The strike will start at 7:30am in the governorates of Zarqa and Aqaba, he said, and will extend to the company's branch in Amman on Wednesday.
During a press conference on Monday, CEGCO CEO Abdul Fattah Nsour said that the company could not afford the JD4 million - equivalent to the company's entire profit margin last year - in salary raises, cost-of-living benefits and health insurance improvements initially demanded by the EWU.
During several meetings between the management, the EWU and Minister of Labour Maher Wakid, the value of the demanded increase in benefits was reduced to JD1.3 million, Nsour said, but disagreements then arose over the time frame for paying them out.
"The EWU demanded that the whole amount be distributed this year, but we did not accept that because we are applying a new salary scale system," he noted.
Nsour said the company's new salary system ties employees' raises to their performance.
"We offered to distribute half the money this year and give the employees the second half next year in accordance with the new system, but the union refused," Nsour stressed.
Hadid countered that the union demanded that the whole package of increases be implemented this year because the new salary scale will not be fair to the company's 1,070 employees.
"The new system will be applied in accordance with wasta (favouritism), not in accordance with the performance of the employee," he told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.
Nsour insisted that the new system would be fair and that employees would receive what they deserved.
"The company is applying a just system and CEGCO will be the first among other electricity firms to apply it," he said.
Hadid said the company's new salary scale, which ranges from JD350 to JD450, is not fair to most employees but Nsour pointed out that salaries had been increased over the past five years.
"In the past five years, the salary scale has been increased by 72 per cent," he emphasised, adding that the company provides its employees with several privileges.
"They are paid three bonuses and they have social security insurance and health insurance coverage," he said.
Hadid assured the public that electricity will not be cut off as a result of the strike, as night shift workers will not join the work stoppage.
Nsour said the company, the largest power generator in Jordan, is moving more workers to the night shift to prevent overworking the employees, but Hadid accused the company of doing so in order to break the strike.