Thousands of Pak Steel workers on Thursday staged a sit-in on National Highway against non-payment of salaries and mismanagement in the country’s largest steel plant. The sit-in, organised by Pakistan Steel Labor Union (PASLU), started at 8:30am and continued till filing of this report. Protestors demanded immediate payment of salaries and appointment of a full-fledged CEO to run the mill.
The protest was largely backed by other labour unions, including Voice of Officers Association, PTI Labor Union, Peoples Labor Union (Akbar Narejo Group), Democratic Workers Union and Progressive Workers Union. However, Peoples Labor Union CBA abstained. The early morning sit-in was held in front of the main gate of the mill and the office of the CBA union. Later, the protestors moved towards National Highway and blocked it. Despite hours long sit-in, nobody from the management contacted the protesting workers. The protestors also tried to block the rail track, however on the request of the civil authorities, they decided to block National Highway.
Talking to Business Recorder, PASLU leader Zafar Ahmed said mismanagement and non-technical leadership has pushed the country’s largest steel plant on the verge of collapse. He urged the government to appoint a full-fledged CEO to run the mill in a proper manner and make it profitable. “We are protesting for our rights and no one from the management is ready to listen to us and solve our problems. Our protest will continue till payment of salaries and change of management,” he added.
Talking about PSM privatisation, he said the workers are against privatisation and want to turn the mill into a profitable entity. However, it will require funds. The government should avert its sell-off and approve a bailout package for the national asset,” Zafar said.