To say that the PPP is a group of most masoom people would be quite correct. They are in trouble when in power and in more trouble when not in power. Recently, when the KESC management laid off more than 4000 people, it came as a matter of shock to the ruling PPP, which has always stood up for the rights of laborers. Firstly, one needs to look at what type of employees were fired by the KESC. The notice below will show you the categories:
These are all low category workers whose positions may not be needed in today’s times. However, one thing is for sure, these weren’t the six figure salary takers nor were they people who could use their positions to make money through KESC.
With the laying off of these people, all of KESC was up in arms. The political parties, all of them, were shocked as to how such a thing could happen so arbitrarily. The government is already facing unemployment as a major problem and if this trend of laying off laborers began at one place, it would spiral across the country, citing precedence by other employers.
MBB leading rally at II Chundrigar Road against massive retrenchment of employees in 1998
If one recalls, in 1998, Nawaz Sharif’s government on the back of its heavy mandate began retrenchment in the nationalized banks. More than 10000 employees were removed from various banks like UBL, HBL, ABL with a stroke of a pen. Many were offered golden handshakes. I remember ads being published in Jang and The News (the group in those days was fighting against Nawaz Sharif and Saifur Rehman) titled “Golden Handshake or Iron Boot?”. At that time, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto led rallies across the country in conjunction with Peoples Labor Bureau and other labor organizations.
This time the KESC management says that a voluntary separation scheme was offered to these employees, however, the employees say that they never received such offers.
The PPP government was able to successfully negotiate with the KESC management despite only being a minority shareholder. All the employees were restored on Sunday, January 23, 2011 late in the evening. Do still people say that the PPP has lost its historic moorings?
How come the civil society doesn’t say anything about these low income individuals who were arbitrarily fired? Jang Group remained very “balanced” on the whole matter, so much so, that the protestors even had placards of “Kamran Khan, Sharam kar kay Geo”