Hundreds of Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) workers held a protest against the utility's management on Friday for not allowing the 4,000 employees, who had been fired earlier, to work properly.
Staging a sit-in in front of the Karachi Press Club, the workers tied black armbands and shouted slogans against the privatisation of the utility. They announced that if their demands were not met until next Friday, they would go on a hunger strike.
Members of KESC's three unions, Peoples Workers Union, Labour Union and Kesuty Union, participated in the demonstration.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the Labour Union senior vice-president, Shauqat Hayat, said that 4,000 workers who were fired by the management on January 19 and then reinstated by President Zardari, were not being allowed to work. He added that the management was "mentally torturing the workers by making charge sheets against them on minor issues". "The management did not accept the decision when the workers were reinstated and is now finding new ways to fire them," said Labour Union chairman Akhlaque Ahmed. "We are ready to talk but they are not ready to listen," he added.
"If the management does not change their behaviour, the workers will not be responsible for theirs," warned Ayaz Mengal, president of the Peoples Workers Union.
A technical worker at the KESC, Saeed, told The Express Tribune that the utility was rendering the workers completely useless. "Seven hundred security guards have been fired, only to be replaced by 1,900 new ones. Similarly, a thousand drivers and many sweepers have been fired and new recruitments are being advertised."
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2011.
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