A rally of workers including shop-breaking workers of Gadani here Friday demanded of the government to announce national ship-breaking policy and withdraw heavy taxes from this crucial sector of economy.
According to details, a big protest rally was staged a Gadani by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Gadani Ship-breaking Workers Union on the occasion of the third anniversary of the martyrdom of 29 workers in Gadani ship-breaking fire mishap.
Addressing the rally, the speakers said three years have already passed to this tragedy, but the government of Balochistan so far has failed to provide legal protection to the ship-breaking workers. As a result ship-breaking workers today are compelled to work in the worst conditions. For the implementations of labor laws and health and safety is a distant dream. Despite passage of three long years to no proper law making for ship breaking workers is done which could result into a big mishap. It is necessary that to bring the ship breaking in industrial sector proper lawmaking should be done. A draft bill made with extensive consultation of labors should be tabled in assembly at the earliest. Health and safety laws should implemented and contract labor system in this sector be ended.
The rally was led by NTFU central president Rafiq Baloch, and Union President Bashir Ahmed Mehmoodani. A large number of workers carrying flags and banners chanted slogans for their rights.
The speakers said that they have been lodging complaints for long against non implementation of health and safety measures at the Gadani ship-breaking yards, but the government, yard owners and related departments of government have never taken these complaints seriously. They said that on November 01, 2016 and then in 2017 many big mishaps took place in Gadani ship-breaking yards in which more than 33 workers died and 54 others injured. They said these mishaps still continue.
They said Balochistan labor department, social security institutions, EOBI, environmental agencies, local police, administrations and owners of ships and labor contractors are responsible for the problems faced by the workers, as they are refusing to accept the constitutional and legal rights of the ship-breaking workers. They said workers are still being denied of their basic rights like appointment letters, union making, collective bargaining, social security and pension. They said that due to the flawed policies of sitting government and its undemocratic steps ship-breaking industry has braved a huge loss. They said excessive taxes have made this ship breaking yard empty and abandoned and thousands of labor of ship-breaking and iron re-rolling industries are rendered jobless.
At the end of the rally, the participants demanded that for law making in ship-breaking sector a serious consultation should be made with real representatives of workers. All labors laws and health and safety measures should be implemented in ship-breaking yards. Contract labor system should be ended. Hong Kong Convention and other intentional conventions regarding ship-breaking sector should be ratified. At every ship-breaking plot facilities of ambulance, dispensary, canteen and clean drinking water should be made available. A modern 24-hours hospital should be established at ship-breaking yard. A labor colony and educational institutions should be set up for ship breaking workers. Clean drinking water, electricity gas and road transport should be provided to them. Heavy taxes from this sector should be withdrawn so that this industry could further flourish job opportunities for labors are created.
Those spoke included NTUF central president Rafiq Baloch, Gadani ship-breaking labor union president Bashir Ahmed Mehmoodani and Union members Abdul Samad and Muhammad Saleem.