By LabourStart correspondent
A factory in Karachi, Pakistan which produces textiles and apparels for international brands, such as Batman, Featherhead Baby and Fisher-Price, in Canada has ‘illegally’ fired more than two dozen workers without clearing their dues, National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) Pakistan’s general secretary Nasir Mansoor said.
On Monday, the sacked employees along with the representatives of the NTUF staged a demonstration outside the factory, Naeem Impex, located in the SITE area of the city, demanding reinstatement.
“The factory management said to the workers that they were fired over violation of the discipline. On the other hand, when we [NTUF] approached the management, they said that the workers were laid off owing to financial crunches and there could be more retrenchments in the coming days,” Mansoor said.
He added that the workers were laid off in retaliation for demanding better working conditions, ending workplace harassment and violence. He said that most of the workers were without any contract and earned less than the already insufficient minimum wage.
He said that the NTUF had filed a complaint with the Department of Labour, Government of Sindh, on behalf of the sacked employees. He stressed that the workers were in need of solidarity from trade unions in the North.
Workers showing the labels they produced for:
In a video of the protest seen by LabourStart, a woman worker complained that her supervisor tried to slap her and then pushed her outside the factory. She added that she was then asked to write an apology if she wanted her job back.
Another woman said that the management had an abusive attitude towards workers and whoever raised voice against it was threatened to be fired from the job. She added that the management made them work even on Sundays with a warning that those who abstained would be allowed on the premises on Mondays.
Their male colleague said that he was blackmailed into writing a resignation and despite that he was not paid his full salary and overtime. The workers at the demonstration said that the factory ran two production units and from them a total of 49 workers were laid off. They added the sacked workers were awaiting a bonus from the factory for upcoming Eid holidays.