26 May 2016 – Workers at the Gadani ship-breaking yard called off their two-day strike after their demand of restoring sacked colleagues was accepted by the employers.
Around 360 workers, including 260 daily wagers and 100 watchmen, were fired on May 16 by the yard owners, apparently as part of a cost-cutting plan. “We opposed the move as it was taking the labourers’ right to livelihood,” Ship-Breaking Mazdoor Union president Bashir Mehmoodani told The Express Tribune.
At first the labourers tried to negotiate with the employers but when it did not work they resorted to a strike, Mehmoodani said. He added that on the first day, the road leading to the yard was blocked and on the second day work was completely halted. It was after this that the Pakistan Ship Breakers Association offered to mediate, Mehmoodani explained. “The union called on the head of the association, Dewan Rizwan Farooq, at his office,” he said.
In the meeting, it was decided that the sacked labourers will be immediately restored, he said. A four-member committee of the ship breakers was also formed to ensure implementation of the agreement.
Sacked labourer Amir Buksh said he and his colleagues were fired in retaliation over the FIRs registered against their employers in case of injury or death at workplace due to lack of safety. He said, they were told that the employers would not hire any locals from now on due to the workers’ movement against violation of labour rights.