Labourers demand rights
KARACHI – The workers at Gadani ship breaking yard should be regularised and provided with health and safety facilities, participants of a labour rights demonstration outside Karachi Press Club (KPC) demanded on Sunday.
The demonstration was organised by National Trade Union Federation and a number of workers belonging to the ship breaking yard and others sectors participated in it.
NTUF president Rafiq Baloch led the event.
The demonstrators said that more than 20,000 workers were directly or indirectly associated with the ship breaking industry but they all were deprived of their basic rights.
This is a sheer violation of labor rights, they maintained.
They told that the deaths of workers in accidents during work had become a routine at the ship breaking yard due to lack of implementation of labor rights and no health and safety arrangements.
Poor sanitation conditions were posing a danger to the lives of those living there, they said.
The demonstrators said that Gadani was one of the biggest ships breaking yard in the world but unlike others the worker here neither had social security cover nor were they registered with the relevant authorities.
“Despite working for more than 60 years, the labourers were deprived of their right to make union and to act as collective bargaining agents.
The workers who earned their employers billions were not even given hospital, ambulances, residences, education facilities, utilities such as water, gas and power.
Due to lack of training of health and safety and such equipments, this ship breaking industry had become even dangerous than the mining industry, they said, expulsion of hazardous gases and material were a serious threat to workers lives and most of them were developing diseases and the sea inhabitants were also being affected with this.
They said that the government had turned a blind eye towards the ship breaking workers plight in collusion of the yard owners.
They demanded that the government should make legislation for the workers in the light of the Hong Kong Convention, the workers should be given their right to make union and act as collective bargaining agent, they should be provided with safety equipments and with the training to use them along with facilities of health, education, residence, and other utilities.