The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) on Sunday unconditionally withdrew orders through which it had sacked 4,300 workers in one fell swoop.
The announcement was made by federal Water and Power Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf at a press briefing held at the Governor House.
The news sent the protesting throng at the KESC’s headquarters into a joyous rapture.
The minister brandished a letter before the media wherein the Karachi power utility’s chief executive officer has declared that it has taken back its decision for the retrenchment of 4,300 non-core workers it had made on January 19. However, he did not supply a copy of the letter to the media.
The minister said that the retrenchments had caused problems for the citizens. He said that the KESC management and workers should focus on improving their working relationship. He urged the reinstated employees to report for duty on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, MQM deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar said that it was a result of the negotiating committee’s concerted efforts that the sacked KESC workers have now been reinstated.
He conveyed congratulations to the workers on behalf of MQM chief Altaf Hussein, MQM Rabita Committee and MQM labour division.
Soon after the press briefing, the nine-member provincial committee reached the KESC headquarters where the sacked KESC workers had been staging a sit-in for five days.
Addressing the gathering, Sindh Minister for Power Shazia Marri said that it was the unity of the workers that compelled the KESC and the government to ensure the retrenchments orders were withdrawn. She paid tribute to President Asif Zardari for taking immediate notice of the workers sacking.
Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed Siddiqui said that the workers’ struggle and unshaken confidence had resulted in their reinstatement.
He said MQM chief Altaf Hussein had said on day one that MQM would lead a movement for the restoration of the sacked KESC workers. Today, his words have proven to be true.
Sindh Minister for Katchi Abadis and Spatial Developments Advocate Rafique Engineer said that the sacked workers had compelled the government and all political parties to settle their issue according to their aspirations.
He said that the workers had established the fact that they can launch a movement and achieve success through their unity. Labour Union (CBA) chairman Akhlaque Ahmed praised the government for addressing the issue on a priority basis.
MQM Labour Division chief Nabeel Ahmed Khan and Peoples’ Workers Union general secretary Lateef Mughal congratulated the workers for scoring a grand victory in their struggle.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2011.