FAISALABAD: The district administration and police officials failed to satisfy powerloom owners of the Sidhar sector so as to persuade them to call off their strike and reopen units closed for nine days.

Talks between powerloom owners and the Labour Qaumi Movement office bearers held at the DCO office here on Thursday in the presence of police and district government officials.

The situation turned ugly when two labour leaders started using objectionable language and powerloom owners had to leave dialogues. Officials of the district administration tried to bring the owners on the table again, but they refused to sit with LQM leaders and left the venue.

Sidhar sector president Adil Bari said initially the district administration held talks with factory owners in the morning and asked them to sit with LQM office bearers to resolve the issue.

Talks were underway peacefully when two LQM leaders started using the objectionable language against the owners forcing them to leave the venue.

He alleged the LQM people were intentionally creating problems to get funding from foreign NGOs.

He said owners had come on the dialogue table to resolve the issue, but the LQM activists wanted something different.

“We had submitted our demands to the district administration in the meeting that workers would submit their national identity cards, come timely on duty and in case of absence would inform owners, clean the looms, LQM leaders would not visit factories for collection of donation and owners would not pay workers in case of factory closure and owners could terminate ineffective workers,” he said.

He said that factory owners could not terminate ineffective and lazy workers due to the pressure of the LQM.

Mr Bari said the union had pressurized loom owners to pay workers in case of factory closure whatever might be the reason.

Quoting an example, he said a number of factory owners had to pay workers when transformers of their units developed faults.

He said police had been questioned as to why no case had been registered against LQM activists for demanding extortion money.

He claimed that 25 such applications were lying pending with police.

He said officials kept asking loom owners that any action against the accused could be taken after they first resumed their businesses.

He said in clear terms that owners would remain on strike till the registration of extortion cases against the accused people.

Lyallpur Town SP Malik Awais, who represented police in the dialogues, said the deadlock persisted because of the inappropriate behaviour of loom owners.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2015

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