FAISALABAD: Powerloom labourers protested on Thursday in different bazaars demanding withdrawal of applications by mill owners against their union leaders.

Loom owners said they would surrender the keys of their locked factories at the DCO office if the administration did not take action against alleged extortionists.

Council of Loom Owners Chairman Waheed Khaliq Ramay with other loom owners told a press conference the labourers had closed their factories only to pressure them for extortion.

He alleged that owners had paid about Rs6 million extortion in last few months to union leaders and District Coordination Officer Noorul Amen Mengal and police officials were well aware of the situation. He said police and the district government officials had failed to take action against extortionists in the industrial areas.

He said factory owners would not resume working till extortionists were arrested.

The loom owners of Sidhar have been on strike since August 8 for action Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) office bearers, who according to them, mint extortion from them.

LQM activists have also been staging a sit-in outside the DCO office since August 22 demanding restoration of the factories.

Labourers had also announced a long march on the Chief Minister’s House, however, they withdrew call on Wednesday.

On Thursday, labourers also staged a protest march on different bazaars of the Clock Tower and demanded cancellation of applications by the owners against the labourer leaders for the registration of extortion cases.

Aslam Miraj, LQM secretary-general, told Dawn the workers were facing financial problems because of the strike of mill owners without any justification.

He said they had postponed their long march as the administration had assured them that factories would be functional on Friday or Saturday. He said workers would not stop their struggle till the acceptance of their demands.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2015

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