The News – Ship-breakers demand better working conditions

Access the original article

9 October 2014 - A number of Gaddani ship-breaking yard workers protested against inhumane working conditions on Tuesday.

Every year, October 7th is observed across the world as the World Decent Work Day. Trade unions mobilise workers and put pressure on employers to make efforts for ensuring workplace safety and job security.

This year, it was the choice of place which stood out. The Gaddani ship-breaking yard is one of the cruellest workplaces in the country, where workers are counted like cattle and paid by the hour at the end of each 12-hour shift.

The protesters demanded that all employees must be allowed to form trade unions. They also demanded job insurance, old-age benefits and social security and increasing the minimum wage to Rs20,000.

“Capitalists in their quest for greater profits have completely ignored the rights of workers. In places like these, the state is absent,” said Rafiq Baloch, an activist of the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), the not-for-profit organisation under whose aegis the rally was held.

“Around 37,000 multinational firms control the resources of the world. As a result, the society is witnessing a crisis of human values,” he said.

Nasir Mansoor, NTUF’s general secretary, said: “This day reminds employers across the globe to invest in employee safety. All workers should receive social security, decent wages and the right to form trade unions.”