KARACHI: National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Pakistan on Thursday
organised a seminar entitled “Boom in Ship Breaking Industry & Denial of
Basic Labour Rights” at a local hotel to highlight the injustice being done
against ship breaking yards' workers.
Pointing out the injustice with workers, the speakers said that
shipbreaking yard owners in Gaddani had been earning hefty profits each
month but thousands of workers who made it possible because of their skills
were yet forced to work and live like slaves.
On behalf of the workers, they demanded a 50% increase in wages,
registration of all workers with social security and permission to form
union and bargain collectively. Labour leaders said that billions of rupees
were earned in profit in this thriving business but workers were deprived
of all basic human and labourer rights as envisaged in the labour laws as
well as the constitution.
They said majority of them work in very vulnerable conditions without any
safety check with low wages and no medical facility, proper residential
quarter or drinking water. Workers are being treated just like animals and
not even a single one of them has been given an appointment letter.
Contractors (Jamadars) act like 'masters' who enjoy full support of local
police and administration while labour departments are least bother about
the well being and better working conditions of the workers, they added.
On the occasion, they unanimously demanded that the right to form union be
immediately restored, wages be increased by 50%, all workers be registered
with Social Security and Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, safety at
work place be ensured, medical hospital with all basic facilities be
established, canteen with hygienic food be provided at subsidised rates,
school and labour residential colony with water supply and sewerage system
be provided and all federal, provincial and international labour laws be
observed in letter and spirit.
Talking about the operations at breaking yard, they said that more than 60
big and small ships typically anchor at different Gaddani shipbreaking
yards for dismantlement and nearly 15,000 workers directly or indirectly,
were engaged in the process.
A minute of silence was also observed in respect of the martyrs of 22 May
carnage in Karachi and a resolution condemning the fascist/racist arm
gangs' sinister designs against the working class to divide them on ethnic
and lingual basis was passed. The seminar also strongly condemned the
demand of Muhajir province and declared that working class stood for
national and historical integrity and oneness of Sindh at all costs.
NTUF President Mohammed Rafiq Baloch presided over the seminar, while
Habibuddin Junaidi Chairman of All Pakistan Trade Union Organisation,
National Trade Union Federation Deputy General Secretary Nasir Mansoor,
Farid Awan General Secretary of Pakistan Workers Confederation Sindh,
Bashir Ahmed Mehmoodani President of Gadani Ship Breaking Democratic
Workers Union, Tahir Khan Yusufzai General Secretary Gadani Ship Breaking
Democratic Workers Union, Ghani Zaman Awan General Secretary Karachi Ship
Yard Labour Union, Shehla Rizwan of Home Based Women Workers Federation and
Shafi Ghori expressed their views.
Source: By Asad Farooq. 25 May 2012