KARACHI - Expressing regret over negligence of rulers on ensuring the safety of the labours at the Gadani shipbreaking yard which resulted deadliest oil tanker fire incidents, the labour organisations representatives presented a charter of demands to the government.
They said that so far more than 32 workers have been killed in accidents due to lack of the safety measures at the ships and yards while the government and its institutions have miserably failed in ensuring labour safety at the Gadani shipbreaking yard.
They stated that while addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC). Those who spoke at the event include Nasir Mansoor, deputy general secretary of the National Trade Union Federation respectively, Gul Rahman, president NTUF Sindh, Gul Rahman, vice president Gadani Ship breaking workers Union , Zehra Khan, general secretary of Home Based Women Workers Federation, Saleem Baloch ,office secretary Gadani Ship Breaking Workers Union and others.
Drawing attention towards the series of the incidents occurred at Gadani Shipbreaking yard they said that last year in November 26 workers were killed as a decommissioned oil tanker, Aces, moored at plot no. 54, caught fire. Dozens were injured in the incident while four are still missing.
They said on another fateful day on January 8, a young worker fell to death from an elderly cargo ship, Snowdon, at plot no 69 as lock of an emergency lifeboat he was sitting in broke.
Then on January 9, five workers were burnt to death as fire engulfed an LPG container, Chaumadra, for the third time since it was beached for dismantling at the yard no 60.
it seems that the decommissioned ships and yards owners and their contractors have been allowed a license to kill labourers for the sake of their profits, said the Labour organization representatives and questioned why the responsible were getting away with the murders every time and the families of labourers are receiving dead bodies.
They said that the criminal negligence of the government and employers can easily be gauged with the fact that a fuss is created when such an incidents occurs and later it gets forgotten with the wind.
They said that neither a conclusive investigation was done nor the perpetrators taken to the task in November deadliest incident, furthermore families of the dead and the injured have not yet been compensated for their irreparable losses.
They said government had pledged to register workers for the social security and other benefits, unfortunately these promises have yet to materialize. However in reaction government imposed section 144 of the law at ship breaking yard rather than implementing the safety and labour laws.
The closure of work affects the daily wage labourers the most and it is tantamount to murdering them economical, they added.
The closure of work would also lead to a surge in the in iron prices across the country, hence, forcing inflation. This will put negative effects on industry and the economy.
Moreover, the demands includes action against the perpetrators of all deadly incidents, action against the government official involved in negligence, compensations to the victims through Baluchistan High Court, immediate conclusion of missing workers case, abolish of illegal contractual employment system and permission to hold referendum to elect union representatives.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 12-Jan-2017 here.