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Tarbela Dam workers demand labour rights.

SWABI -- About 1200 workers of Tarbela Dam Fourth extension project here on Tuesday held a token strike and warned that they would extend protest for a long time against the Chinese company if it failed to meet their various demands repeatedly presented to its officials at different times.

The call of the strike was given by Awami Labour Union (ALU) and its leaders and workers vowed to continue strike if Sinohydro, Chinese Company has not resolved their confronting problems.

The workers had reached to the project at morning to their respective sites but none of them had worked from 7.00am to 10.00 am. The workers recalled that Sinohydro who executes Tarbela Dam's fourth extension project had stopped construction on the new power house for a few weeks after killing of the Chinese and a Pakistani workers in July last year when scaffolding at an under-construction site collapsed.

The construction activities had remained suspended completely for consecutive three hours but all the workers and representatives of ALU and officials of the Chinese company were present on the site.

ALU President Muhammad Ishfaq and GS Aslam Adil said that the Chinese company failed to uphold international Labour Laws, workers rights had flagrantly violated and talks held with them produced no tangible results due to apathy of the officials.

Mr. Ishfaq and Mr. Adil said that the minimum wage of the unskilled workers was increased by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in budget 2016-17 from Rs13, 000 to Rs14, 000.

The wage was applicable from July 1, 2016 but the Chinese company had started paying the new wage to the workers from February 2017 and the employees demanded that the arrear of the seven months.

They said that the workers also demanded of the authorities concerned of the company to grant them annual bonus on the recognition of their rendered sacrifices for the under construction project.

Mr. Adil said that the Chinese company had brought Chinese workers from the China which deprived the local workers from getting employment in the project. If unskilled jobs were not given Chinese workers more local people of the country would get employment in the Tarbela Dam project. "We opposed jobs given to Chinese workers because it deprived the locals from earning their livelihood with dignity and honour," said Mr Adil. Mr. Ishfaq alleged that principles of merit in giving jobs to the workers had also been violated and their made hue and cry had gone unnoticed.

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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Date:May 10, 2017
Words:457
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