Pakistan Steel Mills sacks officers in seven categories

Published March 23, 2021
In this Feb 8, 2016 picture, a man walks past machines at the hot strip mill department of the Pakistan Steel Mills. — Reuters/File
In this Feb 8, 2016 picture, a man walks past machines at the hot strip mill department of the Pakistan Steel Mills. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) has terminated the services of a number of officers falling in seven categories, with former employees estimating that around 500-600 officers have been affected by the decision.

In the last week of November 2020, about 49 per cent of workers and 70pc of officers were retrenched under which 4,544 people were rendered unemployed.

When asked about the total number of employees retrenched on March 22, PSM Chief Executive Officer retired Brig Shuja H. Khurazmi said he did not know about the exact number of officers.

When contacted, PSM spokesman Muhammad Afzal said he could not reply to any question as he had also been sacked.

According to the letter sent to the employees, the PSM management has decided to retrench all officers of the production directorate, except COBP and refractories department; all officers of technical services directors, except qualified engineers and IT professionals; all officers of production, planning and control, public relations department, Pakistan Steel Institute of Technology and Corporate Planning and Investment, except qualified engineers; all assistant managers and deputy managers of security department, engineers working on non-technical posts of marketing and internal audit department; all contract and daily-wager officers, except those in finance and A&P directorate; and officers of zonal offices, except engineers and master’s degree holders posted at Lahore and Islamabad.

The letter further states: “Since you fall the above category of employees to be retrenched, your employment is hereby terminated by way of retrenchment with immediate effect. Although retrenchment is with immediate effect, you will be paid wage/salary of March 2021. In addition to legal dues in accordance with the terms and conditions of your employment, if any, you shall be paid one month wage in lieu of period of notice.”

The letter said it was a painful decision not only for the employees but also for the management; however, it was taken as it had become inevitable in the interest of PSM and the country. After terminating the officers, the management in the letter also “wishes the officers best of health, happiness and success in your future endeavors”.

Justifying the lay-offs, the management said PSM had been incurring losses for many years and accumulated losses as of June 30, 2020 exceeded Rs212 billion, while production activities in the mill had been closed since 2015. “Neither the company has funds to revive the mill nor are funds available from any other source to revive PSM. In any case, revival of the mill would require, firstly, massive investment and, secondly, entail a period of at least two years,” it added.

Former employees regretted that on the one hand, Minister for Privatisation Mohammad mian Soomro had been talking about the revival of PSM and, on the other, retrenchment drive had been picking up pace.

Mr Soomro, while chairing a high-level meeting on privatisation of National Power Parks Management Company on March 17 this year, had thanked the stakeholders for their active participation in the revival of PSM.

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2021

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