HARIPUR: The sacked workers of a cement factory in the Hattar Industrial Estate here continued their hunger strike for the fifth consecutive day on Monday as three of the protesters were shifted to the Haripur Trauma Centre when their condition deteriorated, police and hospital sources said.
The factory administration has filed an appeal before the larger bench of the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC) Islamabad challenging the commission’s previous order passed by a single bench to reinstate the sacked workers.
Mohammad Faisal Awan, an axed worker, claimed the factory administration had fired over 100 labourers about 18 months ago without paying them their terminal benefits they were entitled to under the labour laws.
He said nine sacked workers had moved NIRC, which had ordered their restoration with payment of due benefits, last week.
However, when the sacked workers approached the factory administration with the NIRC order and sought restoration it refused to reinstate them, Mr Awan pointed out.
He said this forced the workers to go on a hunger strike till death in front of the factory’s main gate on Thursday last.
District development advisory committee chairman MPA Arshad Ayub Khan, former MNA Babar Nawaz Khan, MPA Gohar Nawaz Khan, the president of the PTI’s labour wing Haripur and others visited the striking workers and expressed solidarity with them. The leaders urged the factory administration to respect the NIRC order and reinstate all the workers.
When contacted, factory’s general manager Sahib Khan confirmed that the NIRC’s single bench had ordered the restoration of nine of the workers sacked under the downsising policy. But he clarified that the order was from a single bench while the factory’s legal team had filed an appeal before the full bench challenging the previous order.
He said the factory had the legal right to file an appeal within the 30 days of the decision.
He said the factory administration was law-abiding and would reinstate the said workers in case the full bench maintained the single bench’s order.
He complained that the protesting workers and their supporters were causing hindrance in movement of the staff and vehicles.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021