Workers rights: Contract workers rehired after protest

Labour leaders claim contracts of 40 workers were not renewed for trying to register union.


Kashif Zafar August 08, 2012

BAHAWALPUR:


Forty workers were offered new contracts after a protest at a fertiliser factory on Tuesday.


Around 150 workers joined the protest outside Fatima Fertilizer Company (FFC) in Rahim Yar Khan demanding new contracts to the employees, which included the president and general secretary of the FFC All-Contract Workers Union (ACWU).

Muhammad Shoban, the FFC ACWU president, told The Express Tribune they had been trying to get a union for contract workers registered for the past six months.

“The factory has a total workforce of 2,000m out of which only 450 are permanent. The remaining 1,550 workers are on contracts,” he said. “The union was trying to secure permanent employment for these.”

He said the contracts of 40 workers, including himself and the general secretary of the union, ran out on Monday, after which the factory administration refused to re-new them. “Seeing this situation, we protested on Monday and decided to take out a large protest on Tuesday. A large number of workers joined us,” he said.

The protest on Tuesday started at 6am and continued till around noon, when the factory administration agreed to offer new contracts to the 40 employees. The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC) Senior Vice Chairman Qamaruz Zaman Khan was amongst those who negotiated with the factory administration.
Addressing the protest, Zaman said no compromise was acceptable on the rights of workers. “Registering a union is a right and the FFC is trying to stop it. The Labour Department must take notice of this,” he said.
Production Manager Muhammad Asad and Industrial Relations Officer Abdul Majid told The Tribune that they had accepted the demands of the workers and offered new contracts to them.

The protest was joined by Ghotki Friends Labour Federation President Comrade Bhoral, FFC Employees Union (Bagging and Loading) CBA Chairman Nawabuddin Lashari, ACWU President Muhammad Aslam and Fauji Fertilizer Company Employees Union (Bagging and Loading) CBA Comrade Majeed.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.

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