Lahore: Trains schedule was badly disrupted while 13 locomotives were stranded at the Pakistan Railways Mughalpura workshops as workers went on strike in protest against non-payment of salaries.
Protest demonstrations were staged at the Mughalpura workshops and the Lahore railway station where the protesters lay on tracks and refused to let any train leave the station.
The protesters chanted slogans against the PR management and demanded that all corrupt and incompetent officials who were causing financial problems should be fired immediately. They threatened that they would not let even a single engine leave the workshops until their salaries were paid.
Workers of the Pakistan railways Loco Shed and Washing Line were to get salaries by February 15 but were not paid due to lack of funds. The workers started protesting on Tuesday morning when they were told that they would be paid on Thursday.
The PR management assured them that they would be paid on the promised date after which the protest was suspended. However, the management later changed its stance and said it only had funds to pay Loco Shed staff and Washing Line workers would be paid on Thursday. The management only sent Rs 6 million for distribution among employees whereas salaries of all workers were over Rs 10.2 million. To it, the workers restarted the protest and disrupted the schedule for all rains by laying on the track-sand blocking all traffic.
Railway Mazduur Ittehad President Sarfaraz Khan, talking to the media, said that the management was trying to divide workers by paying to one section and pending the rest so that they could harm unity among workers. This, he said, will not be allowed and workers of the Loco Shed would not accept salaries until Washing Line staff was paid. PR District Superintendent Javed Anwar Bubak said workers would be paid their salaries as soon as possible. PR General Manager Ashfaq Khatak was negotiating with the workers till the filing of the report.