FAISALABAD: Labour Qaumi Movement and Powerlooms Workers Union have announced stopping cleansing and oiling of looms, loading and unloading of the beams after Sept 10 if their demands were not accepted.
Earlier, the powerloom owners of Sidhar had observed a strike for three weeks -- Aug 8 to Aug 28 -- owing to demand for alleged extortion money by LQM office-bearers.
The loom owners have termed the demand of the unions an attempt to exert pressure “just to justify the funding they are receiving from foreign and local NGOs”.
City Police Officer Afzaal Kausar along with DCO Noorul Ameen had resolved the issue.
Powerloom unions cite law on labour force employment
On Thursday, scores of posters were pasted in different powerloom sectors, including Sidhar, Faizabad and Ghulam Mohammadabad, urging the workers to stop cleaning the looms and the units and ‘throw away the broom’.
The unions said weavers of any powerloom factory would neither clean the looms nor lift the beams.
Talking to Dawn, Aslam Miraj, secretary general of LQM, said it was clearly mentioned in the Punjab Gazette notification that factory owners would employ oil men, cleaners and loaders separately.
He alleged: “The loom owners are exploiting weavers and forcing them to clean and oil the looms after termination of one task. Similarly, workers are also being forced to load and unload heavy beams of powerlooms.”
He said about one and a half months ago, the district administration and the labour department had been informed in writing regarding the conduct of the factory owners with a request to stop the practice. He said the union office-bearers had been assured that such issues would be resolved in consultation with the factory owners, however, nothing was done so far.
“As a result, we had given time to the district administration and other departments till Sept 10 for solution to the issues. Thereafter, weavers will perform the duty of weaving the cloth alone,” he said.
Council of Loom Owners Association Chairman Waheed Khaliq said the government should control the law and order and net the people responsible for sabotaging the industrial peace. He said deadline had been given only to pressurise the government and the millers.
To a query about appointment of different workers for various duties, he said multiple tasks had been part of their duty for the last 50 years.
“Separate oilman and loader is part of auto loom labour force and not powerloom workers,” he said.
A police officer, who wished not be named, said nobody would be allowed to take law into hand and disrupt peace, however, efforts would be made to resolve the ‘genuine’ issues of the workers.
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2015