Wearing black armbands, dock workers of the Port Qasim observed black day on Thursday to mark 150th day of their ongoing protest outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC).
The protesting workers announced that they would start their march towards Islamabad on February 25 where they would observe hunger strike till death at the famous D Chowk.On the appeal of Workers Union of Port Qasim CBA, hundreds of affected dock workers have been spending their days and nights in a camp set up outside the KPC since September 25, 2018.
Social activists and leaders of various trade unions and journalist bodies joined the dock workers on the occasion of the 150th day of their protest as their demands have continuously been ignored by the Chinese company concerned, Port Qasim Authority and the federal ports and shipping ministry.
Labour leaders said on the occasion that Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the protest twice and directed the ports and shipping minister, Ali Zaidi, and other officials to resolve the workers’ issues but they turned a deaf ear to the workers.
The leaders announced that the dock workers were now left with no other option but to start the Trade Union March on February 25 which would end in Islamabad where the workers would go on hunger strike at D Chowk until they died or their demands were accepted.
They called upon the Chinese company to accept the workers’ charter of demand, sign a new agreement with them and clear their outstanding dues. A demand was also made that the Port Qasim Authority ensure the implementation of the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act 1974 and issue withheld cards of workers.
Labour and journalist leaders who addressed the workers included Karamat Ali, Imtiaz Khan Faran, Faheem Siddiqui, GM Jamali, Ashraf Khan, Hasan Abbas, Tariq Abul Hasan, Ahmed Khan Malik, Khursheed Tanveer, Khursheed Abbasi, Obaidullah, Shakil Yamin Kanga, Zafar Dara, Rana Yousuf, Ajiz Jamali, Nasir Mansoor, Abdul Salam, Aslam Samoo, Hussain Badshah, Abdul Wahid, Liaquat Ali Sahi, Kulsoom Jamal, Ajmal Malik, Irshad Khan Sawati, Habib Jan, Amin Baloch and Naimatullah Bukhari.