In the first phase of their strike, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and Building and Road (B&R) department employees announced a boycott of their offices in Gilgit on Saturday to pressurise the government into releasing their salaries.
“We have not been paid salaries for the past six months and this is the only option left with us to get our rights,” said Mateen, a protestor.
He said that in the first phase of their strike, over 2,000 employees, mostly low grade, in Wasa and B&R have stopped working and will continue to do so unless they get paid. “The unpaid employees number more than 2,000,” he said.
On Friday, nearly 2,000 protestors gathered in front of the main office of Wasa in Gilgit, demanding the release of salaries. B&R employees also joined them in their protests and chanted slogans against the government.
The protestors said that they would intensify their efforts in the coming days if their demands went unmet.
An official requesting anonimity said the Gilgit-Baltistan government’s lack of funds was the main reason behind the non-payment of salaries.
Minister for Water and Power Wazir Shakil said that the government was taking necessary steps in this regard and the issue would be resolved “soon”.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2011.