Six industrial workers sustained serious injuries during a clash with factory management over wages and downsizing on Wednesday afternoon.
According to residents in Faisalabad, dozens of textile mill employees gathered outside the factory on Sargodha Road to protest the sacking of 400 employees on Tuesday. “We were protesting because they suddenly sacked over half the staff without any warning,” said factory worker Rahbar Shah. Shah told police officials that the factory workers had not even told them they were fired. “We just came in on Wednesday morning and they didn’t let us in the gates and announced we were no longer working for them. Then we protested,” he added.
Textile mill owner Hassan Yahya said that he had given plenty of notice to employees. “We are downsizing and we had to let a lot of people go. This was a business decision,” he added.
The mill management sacked over four hundred employees in two days and nearly 300 employees protested outside the mills.
The workers also alleged that they were not paid their legitimate benefits.
According to a security guard at the mill, the workers began hurling abuses at the administration and factory staff and they retaliated by throwing stones.
“Several workers were beaten up and six were seriously injured when the administration threw bricks and stones,” said guard Abdullah.
On receipt of report about the clash, heavy police contingents rushed to the spot and took the charge of the situation. “When we arrived at the scene there was a riot. The administration had locked the gates but the workers were trying to storm their way inside,” said Constable Irfan Kareem.
After lengthy negotiations between worker’s representatives and mill management, the textile mill owners have agreed to pay the workers’ dues and assured they would reinstate the staff when required. Over 270 workers at the mills dispersed peacefully late on Wednesday evening following police intervention.
Hospital officials at Allied Hospital have said that four of the six injured protestors are currently in critical condition. “They are still in emergency care but two are in recovery,” said Dr Ishrat Ali.