Power looms came to a standstill on Tuesday as workers went on a strike to press employers to pay wages according to the law.
In an incident, loom workers and owners clashed during the day-long protest. According to unofficial estimates, 15,000 to 18,000 looms remained shut due to the strike in Faisalabad, the third largest city of the country. The workers blocked Saddar bypass and Jhang road, causing traffic jams.
“Against minimum wage of Rs7,000 per month, most of the workers are paid Rs5,400,” said worker Malik Mumtaz. He said the workers were compelled to take the extreme step after their repeated demands for an increase in wages fell on deaf ears.
Abuzar Ghaffar, a factory worker, said an owner of a weaving unit and his men severely beat workers, causing injuries to them. One worker’s arm was fractured and he was taken to a hospital, he said. However, the unit owner claimed that the workers threw stones at him, which resulted in injuries to him.
Labour Qaumi Movement President Ali Ahmad said the workers would continue the strike until their demands were met. He said that under an agreement signed by Faisalabad District Coordination Officer Naseem Sadiq and district labour officer with the labour movement, wages were increased by 13.3 per cent but it was not implemented.