KARACHI: Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar on Saturday criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for turning the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) “from a profit-making entity with billions in [its] bank account to a heavy loss-making and bankrupt entity” after the party’s chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari lashed out at the PTI government for sacking over 4,500 PSM employees.
Following the federal government’s decision to lay off 4,500 employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), the PPP Chairman had said that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan should be sacked and not the workers.
In a tweet earlier in the day, Bilawal vowed to return ‘each and every’ sacked employee back to work, adding that the land of this ‘historical industrial asset belongs to the people of Sindh’.
Calling the government’s move “economic murder,” Bilawal said PPP will not let the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) get away with taking such a step.
The heartless government’s sacked 4500 workers of Pakistan Steel mills. PPP will return each & everyone back to work. The land of this historical industrial asset belongs to the people of Sindh, we will not let the PTI get away with this economic murder. Sack Imran not workers.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) November 28, 2020
Hitting back at the young PPP leader, Hammad Azhar wrote on his official Twitter handle, “Let me remind everyone that it was during PPP tenure that PSM went from a profit-making entity with billions in the bank account to a heavy loss-making and bankrupt entity. Capacity was taken down to 40 per cent and then PML-N shut it down in 2015.”
Let me remind everyone that it was during PPP tenure that PSM went from a profit making entity with billions in bank account to a heavy loss making and bankrupt entity.
Capacity was taken down to 40% and then PMLN shut it down in 2015. https://t.co/DPEg9tvDrJ
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) November 28, 2020
Meanwhile, PSM employees staged a sit-in at the national highway against the sacking of their services by the federal government. Protestors in large numbers along with a body of a worker, who passed away on Friday after hearing news of his termination from services, observed a sit-in at the highway, urging the government to take back its decision of laying-off their services.
The sit-in resulted in massive traffic jams on both sides of the highway. It is to be mentioned here that the outraged employees of the PSM also protested last night against the decision.
Earlier on Friday, the PSM laid off over 4,500 of its employees. The employees were fired in the wake of an emergency meeting chaired by the PSM chief executive officer (CEO) at the CEO Secretariat.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on June 3 also approved to give the employees due to monetary benefits along with one month salary that would cost the exchequer Rs18 billion to Rs19.7 billion. On average, every sacked employee was estimated to receive Rs2.3 million.
According to a PSM spokesperson, the sacked employees belong to Group 2, 3 and 4 and include junior officers, assistant managers, deputy managers, managers, SEDGM and DCO employees.
“However, teachers and non-teaching staff of PSM schools and colleges; drivers, firemen, fire tenders operators, public health staff, security guards and watchmen, gardeners, paramedical staff, kitchen staff, office staff and workers of all departments of finance directorate are still on job,” he said.