As the country observes a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), a non-governmental organisation, fired 13 employees without prior notice, citing financial constraints.
In a series of Tweets, Raza Gillani, a former employee lashed out at the organisation for what he termed as a move to profit from a pandemic.
He said that that the organisation had fired him along with 13 other employees without a prior notice until the coronavirus situation subsides. He added that while the government funds one project of the organisation, the employees were still working on the other project remotely. “Where is that money going?” he asked.
In a veiled reference to two-time Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy who runs the organisation, he said that she makes films depicting the most vulnerable segments of the society but her own organisation was abandoning its most vulnerable employees who have families to sustain in this time of crisis.
“If downsizing had become so important, why were the directors and those who actually take a hefty salary not fired? Why is it always the most vulnerable employees who are considered a liability at the time of a crisis, if saving money is so important to sustain the organisation?” he asked.
Later, Raza also posted updates on Twitter stating that the human resource department had assured them that they would be given their notice periods and additional one-month salary as well. He added that while CAP runs the National History Museum, it was also true that the Punjab government has not paid the salaries of the museum employees for the past six months.
Following his tweets, CAP, in a statement, said that the organisation relies on the support and funding of donors both private and public to support its core projects.
They mentioned that they have been struggling for the last several months as they have not received six months of payments. Also, their existing grants have been put on hold as well.
“Now that the museum is closed for an indefinite period of time due to the government lockdown for COVID-19 pandemic, as a small non-government organisation we are finding it difficult to sustain a large workforce and have had to make some difficult decisions to let some members of our organisation go whilst also having to revisit current employees’ remuneration,” the statement added.
CAP also stated that the terminated employees “will receive their salaries for the month of March 2020 along with an additional month of pay for April 2020 to be paid after their four-week notice in accordance with their contracts”.
The organisation also claimed that should they be back on their feet after the pandemic is over, “employees who have been terminated will be the first we contact in regards to a return to their position”.