Golden handshakes: Fauji Fertiliser Watan Dost Mazdoor Federation protest labour policies

Category: Industries

SUKKUR (Saturday, May 21, 2011) :  Company says that instead of appealing court verdict, they were protesting – Dozens of contractual workers of the Fauji Fertiliser Company (FFC) held a demonstration outside the Sukkur Press Club against what they said were the “anti-labour” policies of the management, on Friday.
The workers were led by Watan Dost Mazdoor Federation chairman Abdul Haq Khatiyan, Peoples Workers Union chairman Ghulam Sarwar Abbasi and press secretary Abdul Haq Chachar.
Asia’s biggest fertiliser-producing unit was set up in 1980 in Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki district under the name of Pak Saudi Fertiliser Company. Talking to The Express Tribune, Chachar claimed that in 2002 more than 400 regular workers were forced to accept a golden handshake but were paid very little. He said that the privatisation of the Pak Saudi Fertiliser Company was done in violation of the rules since other parties were ready to pay around Rs45 billion, but the company was sold for only Rs7 billion to a “favourite” party.
Chachar said that the workers who were forced to retire had gone to court and won their case but the FFC management was not following those orders. The FFC announced that it was forming the Sona Welfare Foundation and besides making fresh appointments, it was asking the workers to opt for the foundation. Abdul Haq said that this decision was a conspiracy to deprive the workers of their legitimate rights.
When contacted, the FFC media manager, Bakhshal Khan Gudaro, told The Express Tribune that as far as forming the welfare foundation was concerned, it was at its initial stages and the headquarters was dealing with the project.
Gudaro said that the workers had willingly opted for the golden handshake and were paid their complete dues. “Yes the workers had taken up the case with the court but in March the Sindh High Court dismissed their petition and now once again they have started protesting against the company, instead of going for a review,” he said. When asked about not employing the youth of the area, he said that this was not true since all legalities were completed before making new appointments. “We hunt for talent and employ on merit,” he added.
(Published in “Express Tribune” on May 21, 2011)

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