FAISALABAD: Hundreds of Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) employees staged a demonstration in front of the Fesco Headquarters on Canal Road on Wednesday. They protested against the government’s plans to privatise Fesco.
Carrying placards and banners, the workers shouted “Mazdoor Dushman Hukoomat Murda Baad”, “Go Nawaz Go”, “Marain Gay Mar Jain Gay, Fesco Ka Sauda Nahi Honay Dain Gay”, “Nijkari Na Manzoor”, “Mazdoor Kush Policy Na Manzoor”.
The protesters said the Fesco was being privatised under conditions set by the International Monetary Fund. “We will not let the government privatise it. We will protest till the government announces that it has no plans to sell off the company,” they said.
Jamaat-i-Islami vice chief Azeem Randhawa, Faisalabad Shabab Milli president Rana Adnan, Mian Ejaz of the Pasban Rickshaw Owners Association, FDA Union president Rao Nusrat and National Labour Federation Faisalabad president Majeed Salik joined the demonstration and shouted slogans alongside Fesco workers.
Addressing the demonstration, Wapda Pegham Union central president Sirajuddin Saqib said the Fesco had the least losses among eight distribution companies (DISCOs). Fesco ranks first in terms of recovery, he said. “We have worked our way to the top.”
He said the government had gone ahead and assessed Fesco’s assets for privatisation. He said the Fesco had valuable assets but they would be sold to a private company for peanuts. “Fesco’s employees will not let the government sell out the company. We are prepared to take to the streets and will not shy from drastic action if it comes to that.”
He said the government was duty-bound to take Fesco employees on board. “They cannot take decisions affecting our future without consulting us,” he said. “We will fight for our rights.” FESCO Union general secretary Ehsan Ahmad Chaudhry also addressed the demonstration.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2015.