LAHORE: The Labour Education Foundation and the Punjab Textile Powerloom Garment Workers Union on Thursday held a demonstration at the Kot Lakhpat industrial area to press an international apparel and footwear brand to ensure protection of workers’ rights in its supply chain.

The protest was held as the annual general meeting of the European brand in Germany was being held to discuss its financial performance and vote on the issues at hand.

The workers from various garment factories supplying their products to the international brand assembled in the industrial area to raise their voice against violations of their rights, underpayments, long working hours, denial of sick leaves, and poor occupational health and safety arrangements, etc.

They raised slogans, demanding their wages as per the law, respect of their labour rights, end to union busting, right to form trade unions and payment of dues at retirement.

Punjab Textile Power-loom Garment Workers Union General Secretary Niaz Khan said 500 garment workers in the brand’s supply chain in Cambodia had been fighting for three years for €1 million in severance fund. Likewise, he added, thousands of workers across several factories in Indonesia were denied millions in severance over a decade ago, while the story was no different for many workers in the brand’s supply chain in Pakistan.

Lahore chapter of the union general secretary Saba Beig demanded the brand make its contractors in Pakistan honour rights of workers and allow them to form trade unions so they could jointly work for their welfare. She said the workers should also be paid the minimum wages as per law and official notification.

Lahore chapter president Mohammad Khalid and provincial body’s member Shahzaib Shah also spoke on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2023

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