KARACHI: On the 109th day of their sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club and following a protest rally they had staged a day earlier, the 1,751 dock workers of Port Qasim Authority were paid their long overdue salaries on Friday.
It was a sigh of relief for the workers, who were paid five months’ salaries, from July 18 to November 18, through two cheques of a total amount of Rs20.547 million after a meeting between representatives of Huaneng Fuyun Port and Shipping (HFPS), which handles berths three and four at Port Qasim, and representatives of the workers, social workers, human rights activists and trade unionists.
The cheques were handed over by Chen Long, executive director of the HFPS, to Hussain Badshah, the secretary general of the Workers Union of Port Qasim. Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation, as the convener of the Workers Action Committee for Dock Workers, was also present.
He and Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research congratulated the workers for successfully holding their ground by carrying a peaceful protest for so long and for finally seeing their demands met by their employers. “We are extremely happy for the poor dock workers and their families,” Karamat Ali told Dawn.
The workers are now to be paid only their December salaries and they have also been asked to fulfil certain recruitment requirements by their Chinese employers in the contracts offered to them.