Employees of the Utility Stores Corporation continued to protest in the federal capital for a second day on Tuesday.

Hundreds of employees of the Utility Stores Corporation have gathered in D-Chowk from across the country to protest against the likely closure of the stores and demand permanent contracts.

The employees of the Utility Stores Corporation, the country’s biggest state-run retail chain, have urged the government to settle Rs27.6 billion worth of its subsidy claims pending for the last seven years, which is creating a financial crunch for the corporation, leading to its possible closure.

They also demanded that their contracts be made permanent and their wages and salaries be increased, and said the utility stores throughout the country will remain shut from today until their demands are accepted.

The employees have said they will continue to protest until their demands are met. A day earlier, negotiations with PTI leader Naeemul Haque failed.

Roads leading to D-Chowk have been blocked owing to the protest.

Earlier in August, the government ordered the Utility Stores Corporation to halt all purchases until further notice, leaving as many as 14,000 employees in the lurch.

The Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan is a state-owned enterprise that operates chain stores all over the country which provide basic commodities to the general public at prices lower than the open market due to government subsidies.