LARKANA: A large number of rice factories workers, after their unproductive talks with rice millers on enhancing wage, took to the streets of the city on Saturday after announcing an indefinite strike at 42 mills.

Led by Rice Factories Labour Union president Qadir Bakhsh Kurd and Rice Mills Workers chairman Abdul Aziz Abbasi, the participants marched from Labour Colony to Jiannahbagh gate, where they held a demonstration.

Speaking to them, Mr Kurd said that currently around 4,000 workers were serving in 42 rice mills functioning in Larkana and on its outskirts alone.

“Normally they get different percentages on loading, unloading, stocking, milling and weighing processes at the mills. In 2014, mill-owners and rice factories labour union had agreed to enhance 40 per cent in the present wage.

“This year, the agreement has expired and the labour union had in August given the notices to the rice millers to sign a new agreement with certain enhancement and revisions in the earlier wages. But they are running away from talks which has resulted in mounting unrest among workers,” he said.

Workers were demanding an overall 20 per cent rise, Mr Kurd said, but the millers were not ready to accept their demand.

On Friday night, talks between millers’ representative, Ramesh Lal, and labour leaders in the presence of labour department official Nagina Memon were held but the session remained fruitless, which compelled workers to go for a strike, said Aziz Abbasi.

The workers did not to turn up to their assignments on Saturday which led to closure of mills. The labour union had announced continuing the strike till the acceptance of their demands.

An official word and mill owners’ statement about the strike and inconclusive negotiations between the two sides were yet to be made public.

Published in Dawn December 4th, 2016