USC workers end sit-in after govt accepts demands

The protes­ting employees of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) ended their sit-in near the Parliament House on Thurs­day night after the gover­nment accepted their demands.
The last round of negotiations between USC labour union’s chairman Arif Hussain Shah and Adviser to the Prime Minister Abdul Razaq Dawood proved fruitful.
Soon after their meeting, a notification was issued and the USC employees vacated the place they were occupying since Monday.
The notification stated that no action would be taken by the USC management against the employees who participated in the sit-in ‘as the same was held for fundamental rights’.
The notification said it had been agreed that ad hoc relief announced in the 2017-18 budget by the government in salaries would be paid to the employees. The arrears will be paid in 16 months, once the cash flow position of USC improved.
The key demand of employees regarding regularisation of 7,000 contractual and daily-wage employees has also been accepted.
The USC management agreed to increase the rental ceiling of its employees by 50 per cent for hiring residential accommodation in Islama­bad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar.
The government also agreed to upgrade sales and warehouse staff and the details would be discussed in the next board meeting.
The government also acknowledged the demand of the employees that a permanent managing director be appointed in the Utility Stores and the CBA union has been assured that there is no plan to privatise USC.
It has been decided that the USC management would take the CBA union into confidence in restructuring of the Corporation.
The earlier meeting between the union leaders and Mr Dawood held on Wednesday had failed to move ahead, but the union leaders and workers showed no sign of losing heart despite hot daytime and cold nights and they had announced to continue their protest.