Hand-to-mouth: Hattar workers demand complete salary

Say the admin had promised to pay them for six days they were on strike.


Our Correspondent May 23, 2012

HARIPUR:


The workers of Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC) Hattar have threatened to launch protest against the factory administration if their salaries for the month of April are not paid in full.


Accompanied by a swarm of workers, Tahir Amin, a member of Mazdoor Ittehad, said they had observed a tool-down strike for six days in April against the delay in regularisation of the HEC Hattar’s contractual staff. He said the workers called off the strike after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, on May 1, announced that all contractual workers of the complex will be regularised.

Amin said that the factory administration and the workers had agreed that there will be no salary cuts for the days on which the workers were on strike. However, the administration has “backtracked on its word” and has started disbursing only 24 days of salary to the workers. “This is unacceptable,” he said.

Amin said the workers took the matter to District Coordination Officer Haripur Syed, Mohsin Shah, who called a meeting on May 18 of representatives of Mazdoor Ittehad, senior management of HEC Hattar, and Labour Director Haripur. During the meeting, the factory administration agreed to disburse the full 30-day salary to the workers, but it again backtracked on its promise and asked the workers to accept the 24-day salary, he lamented.

“The administration is deliberately creating unrest by not honouring its own words,” said Amin. He said that several workers live “hand-to-mouth” on their salaries and cannot survive without the complete amount.

He warned of pronounced protests, including holding roadblocks and marches, if the issue was not resolved in a week’s time.

When contacted, HEC Hattar’s Senior Manager Production Nehmatullah Baloch said that under the law the administration must not make payment of the days the workers were on strike. However, he said that negotiations are underway and expressed hope that the matter will be resolved within a few days.

Set up in the early 90s with the financial assistance of China, HEC Hattar employs over 200 workers and has an annual production capacity of 148 heavy power transformers.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2012.

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