Pakistan Steel Mills employees staged a protest yesterday against non-payment of last 4 months’ salaries and other benefits. The protesters blocked the main railway line ML-1, causing trains to be delayed from reaching Karachi.
Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) Employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) staged the protest. First the protesters tried to block the National High Way but due to the intervention of police they were not able to block the road. After that, the protesters came out on the railway line and blocked it under the Quaid-e-Azam bridge.
The blockade of ML-1 stopped movement to and from Karachi. A passenger train, Bahauddin Zakria Express, and a freight train taking coal for Sahiwal Power Plant were stopped by the protestors
They also blocked the railway line with heavy stones and blocks. The standoff started at about 8 am and continued till 12.30 pm on May 16th.
Deputy Commissioner Mail and other officials with a large number of riot police officers with sticks, shields and tear gas shells reached the area and surrounded the protesters.
Pakistan Steel Mills’ management communicated the massage of Federal Government to release the salary in a few days. On this the protesters ended the blockade and disbursed peacefully.
Railway workers removed the obstacles from line and restored the traffic after 4 hours.
Joint Action Committee General Secretary Mirza Masqood told ProPakistani that their demands were simple. “We are demanding to operationalize Pakistan’s biggest steel plant and pay our salaries,” he said.
The demands were as follows:
- The government should immediately release the salary of last 4 months (Jan till April)
- About 4,000 employees were retired from PSM, their dues are pending. Ensure that the dues are cleared with retirement benefits.
- The government should also immediately start operations at PSM.
- Necessary financial support must be provided to PSM for its operations.
- Gas supply should be restored to run the plant.
At the end of the protest, Mirza told that thee management said that the salary issue will be resolved in few days.
“We are ending our protest and clearing the railway line on the assurance that our salaries will be paid,” Mirza added.