FAISALABAD:Dozens of workers of a textile mill on Thursday staged a protest demonstration against their mill administration for not paying them salaries, forcing them to work despite a ban on the assembly of five or more people at a place and torturing two workers for demanding pay.

The workers of the factory situated on the Khurrianwala Road came out of their units when they came to know that the mills administration had thrashed two of their colleagues for demanding salaries. They chanted slogans against the administration amid presence of the police and demanded the government move against the administration for not closing the mills.

Under the Section 144, the Punjab government has banned the assembly of five or more people to control the spread of coronavirus. The police and district administration took action against the business establishments that were not following the Section 144.

Talking to the reporters, the protesters said they had asked the administration to pay salaries to workers so that they could go home to avoid coronavirus but instead of paying, the administration took two workers, including Jafar Ali, out of their unit, tied their hands and thrashed them severely.

They complained that the workers were being forced to work in the mills whose main gate was being locked by the administration to avoid the government action. They said the factory was also forcing the child labour to work and all the workers were performing their tasks without taking any precautionary measures. More than one dozen child labourers were also present in the protest who said they worked as the vendor helpers in the mills.

The commissioner and the deputy commissioner were contacted by this scribe to get their version that why mill was working despite the ban but both of them did not turn up for the reply.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020