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Working conditions at Gadani ship-breaking yard ‘still bad’


Despite the loss of almost 40 lives of workers at the Gadani ship-breaking yard since November 2016, no efforts have been made by the state or the owners to improve the conditions.

This was stated by Nasser Mansoor, general secretary of the Pakistan National Trades Unions Federation (PNTUF), while addressing a seminar at the Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences on Saturday evening.

Departments like the police and the environment took bribes from the owners to do their bidding against the labourers, he alleged.

The capitalist owners, he said, spent Rs4million on having the genuine union of the workers

De-registered. “Now we have a union but our collective bargaining is not recognised.”

Mansoor said there was total blockage of news of accidents that occurred and things were just hushed up.

“There’s no proper sanitary system for the workers, no proper messing. A plate of Daal which may be selling for Rs60 in town sells for Rs90 at Gadani. A Roti which sells for Rs5 in town is likely to cost Rs10 there.

Factories are serving as slaughter houses.”

Industrialists and politician industrialists were not playing the government-mandated minimum wage of Rs14,000 a month to their workers, despite the fact that these politicians were constantly shedding crocodile’s tears for the workers.

He said that at the time of the recent accidents, no government functionary or politician came to enquire after the welfare of the workers. The only person who came with 60 vehicles and generous aid was the late Abdul Sattar Edhi’s son, Faisal Edhi.

The way ship-breaking was being carried out, without any set code, harmful substances were being dumped into the sea polluting marine life, which was such an important source of food and protein, he said.

“It is the people who have to get together against this order and change the narrative,” he said.

Mansoor said all the oppressed and the working classes would have to unite to change the unjust order. He said that there was a deliberate attempt to shut Pakistan Steel to pander to the interests of the steel importers and a section of the bureaucracy. “If the state and the capitalists don’t go by what they have written, sooner or later there’s sure to be a mighty conflagration.”

Mansoor’s talk was preceded by the screening of a movie which showed four case studies of the state of workers after some of those countries went capitalist and workers were taken for a ride. The four case studies were those of Ukraine, Indonesia, Gadani Ship-breaking Works and China.

The movie showed the conditions of the mine workers in Ukraine after independence and the end of the socialist era and China after the country went avowedly capitalist. The condition of Chinese workers is depicted as horrible under capitalism.

Source: The News International

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