ISLAMABAD: A three-day long sit-in held by the employees of the Utility Stores Corporation at D-Chowk came to an end on Thursday after government agreed to the demands put forth by the protesters, reported multiple media outlets.
Several employees of the country’s biggest state-run retail chain had gathered in D-Chowk from all over Pakistan for the fulfilment of their demand for permanent contracts and for likely closure of the stores.
“The federal government has accepted the demand of not privatising the Utility Stores Corporation,” announced Syed Arif Hussain Shah, the chairman of the All Pakistan Utility Stores Corporation Union, during Thursday night.
Shah said that the government has given one-month time to resolve the issues of daily wages and contract employees of the stores, adding that it has been decided the Ministry of Finance will give an approval to pay the remaining salaries of the store workers with November’s pay. He also warned that the union would protest again if these promises are not fulfiled.
After the successful talks, the protesters packed their things and cleared the area.
Earlier, the protesters said that they will not call off the sit-in until the authorities concerned fulfill their demands: withdrawal of the plan of privatising utility stores and to clear their outstanding payments.
While chanting slogans, the protesting employees said that the government is not providing relief to the poverty-stricken people.
The employees of the Corporation had urged the government to settle Rs 27.6 billion worth of its subsidy claims which are pending over the last seven years creating a financial crunch for the corporation, leading to its possible closure.
The employees had made it clear that they will continue to protest until all their demands are fulfilled, including the permanent employment ones.
Meanwhile, police officers had blocked the road heading to Parliament House in order to maintain law and order situation in the federal capital.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Political Affairs Naeemul Haque tweeted earlier on Tuesday that all the demands made by utility stores employees seem equitable and acceptable to the government.
In his tweet, Haque said that PPP and PML-N had destroyed utility stores and made it bankrupt in the last 10 years. Further, he added that these two parties were “now trying to incite some miscreants.”