Meher Azeem Hakro, Islamabad
Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) has sacked 4544 employees, including divisional, assistant managers, 2, 3 and 4 pay groups as part of its cost reduction exercise. The federal government has already approved the retrenchment of all the 9,350 remaining employees of the PSM with a one-time compensation cost of about Rs.20 billion in June. In this regard, dismissal orders have been sent to the homes of the employees, where reports of dismissal have made many employees sick and upset.
It is sad news that the condition of the largest steel mill in Asia, which was established by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, is ruined at the moment. Of course, all stakeholders, politicians, bureaucrats, employees union, governments, are equal partners in making it worse. The people of Pakistan are going through unprecedented times, particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in era of inflation, making such a large number of employees unemployed is a very cruel and drastic step, as it required the present government to restore the steel mills and increase their productivity but unfortunately the present government also follows the steps taken by the previous government.
If this process is incessant, then a lot of relief needs to be given to residential employees, including housing. They can live their lives with dignity because it has been heard that these employees are being taken back home immediately. The government should also give them an alternative home before making such a decision, or PSM employees residing in Steel Mills Township should be allowed to stay in government housing for three years till they can find alternative permanent home.