KARACHI: Port Qasim dock workers continued their sit-in for the acceptance of their demands on the 40th consecutive day outside the Karachi Press Club.
A sit-in camp had been established at the press club by the Port Qasim Authorities (PQA) Workers Union to press the authorities to accept their demands. They have been protesting against the PQA and a Chinese cargo management company.
Rafiq Khan, a protestor, told PPI that he had not been paid for the past nine months despite being one of the first ship loaders employed by PQA when it first started its operations.
PQA Workers Union Senior Deputy General Secretary Abdul Wahid said that the Chinese shipping company was exploiting the workers and was not paying their wages to them. He said that the Chinese shipping company claimed that the workers had already been paid their six-month salaries. He also said that several politicians had visited the protest camps and had assured the protestors that their issues would be resolved soon but there was no progress in sight.
Secretary General Hussain Badshah said that a number of labourers had become disabled during work but they continued working for the sake of economic growth. He said that the Chinese company had paid only six-month salaries the labourers despite being a defaulter on more.
“PQA is not paying heed to our demands. Our charter of demands should be accepted and implemented without delay and the workers should be issued their entrance cards as well,” he said, adding that the government should implement the Dock Workers Act 1974 in letter and spirit to stop the exploitation of workers.
The labourers said that 350 dock workers were working on the son quota after the retirement or death of their fathers. They also said that the Chinese cargo company had not issued the entrance cards to the workers and has shown reluctance in renewing their contracts.
The protestors further said that had been protesting for the past 40 days and if their demands are not accepted, they would move to the federal capital. They also appealed to the federal government to accept their charter of demands immediately.