FAISALABAD: The district administration has asked the powerloom owners and workers of Sidhar sector on Jhang Road to reach an agreement on increase in wages and resumption of work in their factories.

The situation was tense between workers and powerloom owners over the issue of fixed wages for the last few days and units were not working leaving dozens of workers jobless.

This sector has hundreds of powerlooms whose workers are up in arms against the factory owners and the district administration. Workers had staged several protest demonstrations against the factory owners and the district administration; they had staged a sit-in outside the deputy commissioner office alleging that the factory owners were not issuing them the wages fixed by the government.

A video footage shared with the media carries the images of some people who forcibly entered a factory on Tuesday night, damaged the powerlooms’ paraphernalia and thrashed the workers. Sensing the furious behaviour of the workers, a delegation of the powerloom owners met the district administration and police officials on Wednesday in which they submitted an application against those who damaged their properties and also thrashed their workers.

However, the administration convinced the factory owners and workers, whose leaders had also been called in the meeting, to resolve the issues rather than seek action against each other.

Following the pursuance of the district administration, both sides have agreed that wages of winder man and other workers would be increased by 7.14pc. The agreement will remain intact till June 30, 2020.

Both sides also agreed on restoration of the old workers who had been shown the door by the factory owners. The workers would perform their traditional duties of cleaning machines and lifting beams and both parties would resolve their issues amicably.

This would be the second agreement between the factory owners and the workers. A few days ago, an agreement was signed by both sides. However, workers said the factory owners were not ready to accept that agreement with the claim that the district administration had forced them to sign it on the pressure of the Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM).

Besides, a three-member committee had been formed by the deputy commissioner to resolve the issues.

The factory owners said the Sidhar sector had been facing a slump as some of the people attached with the LQM, a union of powerlooms and brick kiln workers, are not allowing them to run their factories and they also forcefully closed their units and thrashed their workers. They said police were not ready to take even a single application against those intimidating the factory owners and workers.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2019