Labour leaders have said the non-payment of wages and the forced dismissals of thousands of workers are a blatant violation of government proclamations, threatening that if injustice to workers is not stopped, their protest may spread from the streets to a siege of residences and offices.
These views were expressed by the labour representatives at a protest organised by the National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF) and the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) at Bilal Chowrangi, Korangi Industrial Area, on Monday.
A large number of workers from various industrial enterprises attended the protest and chanted slogans in support of their demands.
Addressing the protesters, Nasir Mansoor, secretary-general of the NTUF, said that forced dismissals of workers had become the norm, as around six million workers had lost their jobs.
“The holy month of Ramazan is passing and the Eid festival is about to come, but factory owners continue to refuse to pay wages to workers despite government announcements.
As a result, a situation of starvation has arisen in the workers’ families. At present, more than 10 million working families are on the verge of abject poverty and starving.”
Mansoor further said that the Sindh government had protected the jobs and wages of the workers during the lockdown through a notification, but the industrialists had flouted these orders.
Some employers are taking undue advantage of the coronavirus crisis by firing workers who have been employed for decades and are forcing them to work as precarious workers under the illegal contract system, he remarked.
Abdul Basit Jagrani, general secretary of Textile and Garments General Workers Union, Comrade Zahra Khan, general secretary of the Home-Based Women Workers Federation, trade union leaders Aqib Hussain, Saeed Baloch, Saeeda Khatun and others also spoke.