LAHORE: The Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign (PTUDC) held a protest demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday to express solidarity with workers of a Sheikhupura factory.
The factory workers have been on strike for a week to protest the lack of enforcement of labour laws. Waleed Ahmed Khan, the PTUDC Lahore chapter organiser, said: “These people have been working in the factory for 10 to 15 years. However, they still have contract jobs or work on daily wages. The management has not done anything to make them permanent.” He said only a few employees had been issued social security cards.
He said six months ago, the workers had persuaded the management to let them form a registered union. “The union asked the management to follow labour laws at the factory. The management promised the employees that they would do so from January 1, 2016. When they failed to do so, the union called a strike. They also approached the Labour Department, but their grievances have not been addressed,” he said.
The protesters demanded that the government ensure the protection of labour rights. “The factory is a sub-contractor for a company. However, they are not implementing any of its standard operating procedures,” said Zainul Abideen, a PTUDC member.
He said they had tried to contact the company, but had not received any response. “Workers have been unfairly treated for decades,” he said. Farhan Gohar, another PTUDC activist, said the workers were demanding their rights. “The owners have obtained signatures of some workers and registered another union with the Labour Department. The case is now pending before court,” he said.
A similar demonstration was held in front of the Sheikhupura DCO’s office.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2016.