To strengthen its work in the electricity sector, the TKTMS, a BWI Affiliate in Tamil Nadu State, India launched the Tamil Nadu Electrical Workers Federation (TEWF) on 30 July 2019 in Chennai. The TEWF comprises of 18 registered electricity workers trade unions from across 15 districts in Tamil Nadu State with more than 3,000 members.
Ponkumar, Founder of TEWF and President of TKTMS congratulated all the unions in displaying unity and strength by coming together under one federation. The electricity sector in India has been facing a number of challenges and the situation could become worse if the Indian Government carries out proposed changes in labour laws and policies governing the electricity sector. Ponkumar called for joint and collective actions at the State and National levels to ensure that rights and well-being of workers and their families are protected.
The launch of the TEWF was attended by more than 500 workers and it was addressed by number of leaders including Dr. Rama Chandra Khuntia, President of INBCWF and Chair of the BWI Indian Affiliates Council (IAC); Apolinar Tolentino, Regional Representative of BWI Asia-Pacific Region; Kuldeep Kumar, Secretary General of the Indian National Electricity Workers Federation; Arumugam, State President of the TEWF; and K. Alagesan, former Secretary of the TNCWWB.
Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI conveyed solidarity greetings and congratulated the TEWF leadership and its members. In his message, to the participants he stated, "Workers in the electricity sector are confronted with a number of challenges including growing contractualisation, privatisation, outsourcing and poor Occupational Health and Safety standards that calls for strong intervention by unions. The establishment of the TEWF would strengthen the capacity of trade unions to campaign and mobilize to ensure the rights of workers in the sector.”