Labours stage demo against forced sackings of denim factory workers

Karachi: A big protest demo here Sunday demanded to immediately reinstate the forcibly sacked workers of Denim Clothing Company, Korangi Industrial Area and solve the problems of workers.

According to details, National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Pakistan held a big protest demo in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) against the forced retrenchment of workers from the Denim Clothing Company, Korangi. A large number of workers holding placards and banners raised slogans and demanded justice to the sacked workers. The demo was led by NUTF central president Rafiq Baloch.

Speaking on the occasion, labour leaders said the textile and garments factories have been turned virtually into torture houses for workers. Specially, the factories and mills manufacturing goods for foreign markets are openly violating all local labour laws and accepted international laws and standards. The international brands have knowingly become part and parcel of this malpractice. In this regard a recent example is the sacking of hundreds of workers of Denim Clothing Company Korangi without serving them any legal notice. This company is making garments for H&M and other international brands. The sacked workers had been working for three to ten years in the same factory. The H&M for which this company is making clothes has recently promised with the international labour entity Industrial Global Union to follow the labour laws and standards but in vain.

They said in four units of factory used for making goods for H&M the workers are meted out the worst attitude. The factory is being used as a sweat shop, while workers also face discrimination on ethnic grounds. More than 1300 workers work in two shifts of each unit, but they are not given any appointment letter and hence they are deprived of their rights from social security to forming labour unions and collective bargaining agent. The workers do not get any health and safety facility. The factory canteen provides them substandard food and there is ban on bringing eatables from outside. The workers are not being paid the minimum wages as announced by the government. The workers are subjected to forced overtime, but not paid the double overtime as per law. The factory administration has slapped criminal elements of different political groups on workers in the name of Admn incharges who brutally harass, misbehave and abuse them even over minor matters. On a minor mistake the workers face salary deduction and even sacking. When a few workers recently talked about forming a labour union to fight this harassment, their entry in the factory was banned. The company uses tactics of closing the factory gate, salary deduction and sacking to harass the workers.

They demanded that the sacked workers should be reinstated immediately. All workers should be given appointment letters and they should be registered with the social security institution. The minimum wages as announced by the government should be implemented. The terrorism of the armed gangs of factory administration on workers should be ended. Standard food should be provided to workers in the factory canteen. Inhuman treatment of H&M towards the workers should be immediately noticed. Workers should be given their right to make unions and elect collective bargaining agents. Health and safety of workers should be ensured. Double overtime should be given, by ending forced overtime. Proper cleanliness arrangements should be taken in the factory.

Those spoke included NTUF President Rafiq Baloch, deputy secretary general Nasir Mansoor, NTUF, Zahra Khan, general secretary Home Based Women Workers Federation, Rajab Ali, Mohammad Kamran, Mohammad Zahid, Sher Khan, Farhad, Sajid and others.