The votes polled in the trade union referendum held on 20-10-2015 in the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) will be counted on November 12 in Ernakulam. The referendum, meant to assess the strength of trade unions, was the first in the state-run power company in 12 years and had recorded 98.11 per cent polling.
The total number of voters stood at 28,202, a KSEB spokesperson said. The votes will be counted at the Regional Joint Labour Commissioner's office in Ernakulam, where the ballot papers are being kept.
In all, seven trade unions participated in the referendum: Kerala Electricity Board Workers Association (CITU), Kerala Electricity Workers Federation (AITUC), Kerala Vydyuti Mazdoor Sangh, Kerala Electricity Executive Staff Organisation, KSEB Ministerial and Other Staff Organisation and the two factions of the INTUC union - the Kerala Electricity Employees Confederation (KEEC) and the United Democratic Electricity Employees Front. The referendum is crucial for the INTUC, which had failed to win recognition in 2003 because of the divisions within its union KEEC. Despite efforts taken by the KPCC, the INTUC-backed union contested as two separate factions this time - KEEC and UDEEF - lowering the trade union's chances of winning recognition.
Unions winning 15 per cent votes are included in the Constituent of Joint Bargaining Council, those winning 40 per cent are considered a principle bargaining agent and any union which wins above 51 per cent votes becomes the sole bargaining agent. Last time, only the CITU (43 per cent) and AITUC (22) unions managed to get more than 20 per cent votes. The referendum should have been held in 2006, but court cases had delayed the process. The 2015 referendum gains in significance as it is the first since the KSEB became a company and also the first since the introduction of the Kerala Recognition of Trade Union Act, 2010.