26 January 2021
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The family members of the sacked employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills have gathered in protest outside the house of the company’s CEO in Karachi’s Steel Town.

The chief and other employees of the steel mill are stuck inside their houses as protesters have blocked and locked the main gate.

The protesters include the wives and children of the fired employees. According to sources, the CEO and other members of the top management of the mill were holding a meeting when the protest commenced.

Following this, a team of police and Rangers reached the site and tried to disperse the protesters but they refused to budge. They said they will not move till they are paid their salaries.

In December, protesters staged a sit-in at the railway track near Karachi’s Bin Qasim for over 10 hours. The deputy commissioner, railways authorities, police and steel mills officials held talks with the protesters after which they agreed to end the sit-in.

The government’s Economic Coordination Committee had approved in June firing all employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills. Over 4,500 employees were sacked in November as part of a cost reduction exercise.

According to the mills’ spokesperson, lecturers, the non-teaching staff at schools and colleges, drivers, firemen, fire tender operators, health workers, security guards, gardeners, paramedical staff, cooks, and office attendants were being “retrenched”.

The staff at the chief executive’s secretariat and professional degree holders were being retained.

“The individual letters of retrenchment have been dispatched to
all retrenched employees through registered post,” said the spokesperson in a
statement.

Saeed Ghani, the minister for labour in Sindh, condemned the federal government’s decision to terminate the services of PSM employees and said that the PPP will stand with the employees.

He demanded the government withdraw its decision to sack the employees and an economic package should be announced to make the PSM functional.

Abdul Gh Lone

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