Unique Motorcycle Company workers staged a protest demonstration inside the Labour Court on Friday, July 29, 2022. Workers organised the protest around three agenda point demands, including payment of salaries, reinstatement of illegally dismissed workers, and payment of services allowances.
Many workers participated in the protest. The protesters raised slogans in favour of their rights and demanded an immediate resolution. The protestors said they had been protesting for the last four days, but the management and the factory owners were not paying any attention. “We have not been paid salaries for three months; even on happy occasions like Eid, our children are deprived of happiness”.
On demanding payment of salaries, the workers were forcibly dismissed and harassed by the management with the support of local police with threats of dire consequences. The minimum monthly wage of 25,000 PKR (77GBP / 93USD) announced by the government is not being paid. Workers are forced to work for 12 to 16 hours at low wages on the pretext that the company is facing a financial crisis. On the other hand, bosses are making wasteful investments, and also a new factory was inaugurated in January.
The protesters have filed an application in the labour court today, after which the factory owner has promised to pay all the dues within a week. If the factory management does not fulfil its promise, they have the right to protest.
Erosion of health and safety measures is another menace. Many workers have lost their lives due to the lack of safety equipment. Casualisation of work contracts is rife. According to the law, every worker should be given a permanent contract with all due rights, including pensions. However, those employed for 3 to 15 years have not been made permanent. Due to the rouge casualisation, workers are deprived of numerous employment-related benefits such as old age benefits, inflation allowance, annual leave, paid sick leave, and bonuses. Factory workers are made to work for 16 hours without any overtime payment.
These problems exist in more than one factory; the workers of every factory in Pakistan are facing similar problems. Therefore, we must fight this battle together. Pakistan Trade Union Solidarity Campaign supports all the demands of the workers.
The campaign strongly condemns the factory management’s dismissal of the protesting workers and reiterates its commitment to stand by the workers in their struggle.