Pakistan Steel Mills has been in trouble for a long time and in the past several governments have tried to find a solution but nothing came of it except failure. Now the issue has once again become a topic of discussion and the reason for this is the recent government decision under which all the employees of the long-closed Pakistan Steel Mill will be laid off.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet's Economic Co-ordination Committee approved in principle a summary in this regard, under which all 9,350 employees of the mill would be given leave to retire after payment of dues and other payments.
News of the Economic Co-ordination Committee's approval of the summary came too late, sparking an uproar on social media. In addition to ordinary citizens, political figures, representatives of unions, and organizations working to protect the rights of government employees, and journalists expressed their views.
Former Finance Minister and Sindh General Secretary of PML-N Muftah Ismail tagged Federal Minister Asad Umar on Twitter and asked him, "I know you are not attending ECC (Economic Coordination Committee) meetings. “But do you support the ECC's decision, especially in the context of your old speeches to Pakistan Steel Mill employees? The Prime Minister keeps taking U-turns, but you stick to your word, isn't that so?”
Dear @Asad_Umar I know you skip ECC meetings but do you support this ECC decision given your previous policy positions and speeches to PSM workers. PM keeps making U-turns but you stand on your words, no?— Miftah Ismail (@MiftahIsmail) June 3, 2020
ECC approves firing all PSM labour https://t.co/U8Z6xE4LND
It may be recalled that when the PTI was in the opposition, Federal Minister Asad Omar while addressing the employees of the Steel Mill, had said that if his government came, they would run the Steel Mill again.
"Record my video so that if I back off, you can embarrass me by showing it to me tomorrow," he told employees. I promise you that if the PTI government comes and a decision is taken against the steel mill workers, I will not stand with the PTI but with the steel mill workers. Now the same video users are posting on social media and trying to embarrass them according to the words of Asad Omar.
Shehryar Bhagat wrote that in the past Imran Khan used to say that he would improve the steel mill by bringing in management while at present Imran Khan's government has laid off 9350 employees.
U-Turn Master !— Sheryar Bhagat (@sheryarbhagat) June 3, 2020
Imran Khan in Past : Introduction in Management will improve Steel Mill.
Imran Khan in Present : Government firing 9,350 workers from steel mill. pic.twitter.com/fGmWrIrt0f
Murtaza Ali Shah, a journalist with a private television channel, wrote: "Do you remember the promise of 100 million jobs and the return of Pakistanis from abroad to their homeland for jobs?"
Remember promise of 10 million jobs and thousands of overseas coming to get jobs in Pakistan? pic.twitter.com/js9N77oVUD— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) June 3, 2020
There are some consumers who see this decision in the context of provincialism.
A Twitter user wrote: "Dismissing job seekers were not part of the PTI's manifesto. PTI's slogan was that we will give millions of jobs. The firing of steel mill workers is nothing but enmity with Sindh.
The govt has decided to fire over 9000 workers of the steel mills! How can we hold private companies accountable when this govt has no respect for workers rights?— Ammar Ali Jan (@ammaralijan) June 3, 2020
Making 9000 households insecure in the middle of a pandemic is nothing less than criminal. pic.twitter.com/zD3VqrrXMv
Ammar Ali Jan, a human rights activist, tweeted: "The government's insecurity of 9,000 families during this global epidemic is nothing short of a criminal act."