FAISALABAD: A large number of brick kiln owners have not been paying social security amount for the last three years as a result about 1,700 workers are facing problems.

Labourers have off and on staged demonstrations in front of the deputy commissioner office for social security cards, but still hundreds of people have no access to healthcare facilities to be given against the card.

A report of the social security department reads that 361 brick kilns owners are defaulters of Rs46 million and have not been paying the amount for the last three years.

Of 2,300 workers, 1,795 workers have social security cards. The district has 677 brick kilns and [of them] 464 are operational these days. About 213 kilns have been closed in different areas, the report reads.

Labour leader Aslam Miraj says it is the weakness of the government institution as it could not collect social security amount from kiln owners. He says they have been doing a good business but are not ready to provide any sort of facility to their workers who are contributing a lot to strengthen their businesses. An official of the social security department says notices have been issued to kiln owners for depositing the money, however, they are not following the department orders. He says the Punjab government must launch a campaign to safeguard the interests of labourers.

A couple of months ago the kiln owners had also staged a protest demonstration against social security department, claiming that their units did not fall within the purview of the department which was pressing them for deposit of the social security money.

“We are already facing a financial crunch as the kilns remained closed due to smog. Besides, a hefty amount is also pending with the workers who obtain money in advance and then start working at the kiln,” one of the owners said.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2019