Tag Archives: employees

Senate sages: Senators direct PIMS to disband employees’ associations



ISLAMABAD: 

Instead of working out the problems hampering performance at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), a Senate panel suggested that the hospital simply disband employees associations.

The suggestion was to ban labour unions “that create hurdles” at the hospital as a performance improvement measure. The suggestion, however, could be seen as a violation of the right to unionise, which is a fundamental right of every Pakistani under Article 17 of the Constitution.

Earlier, the Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Thursday put forward its recommendations before the Cabinet for approval to formulate rules to make public hospitals corruption-free as well as for the extension of Polyclinic hospital.

A member of the Senate panel expressed reservations over the challenges being faced by Pims and Polyclinic in providing better healthcare facilities to patients.

They asked the hospitals administration to provide them with a list of doctors and bureaucrats who are creating hurdles in the smooth functioning of hospital affairs.

Committee Chairperson Kalsoom Parveen said that in the last committee meeting, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad assured the committee that issues relating to the handing over of possession of part of Argentina Park for the Polyclinic extension project would be resolved in three weeks.

But the issue remains unresolved, despite approval from the PM and the Argentine Ambassador, she said.

“This extension project is for the betterment of the poor as they are being deprived of the opportunity to get treatment at Polyclinic,” she said.

Expressing her reservations over the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) handling of the issue, she said that city managers “misled” the committee by making pledges during the meeting and later doing the exact opposite.

In response, the CDA Estate member informed the committee that giving part of the park away for construction was a violation of the Master Plan of the capital, adding that several Supreme Court verdicts had barred any construction activity on land zoned for public parks.

Minister of the State Barrister Usman Ibrahim of the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) said he has constituted a steering committee including the Polyclinic executive director, a Planning Division official, and the PWD director general to resolve the land possession issue.

The committee expressed disapproval over the PWD chief being appointed head of the steering committee and suggested that the Polyclinic ED be given the role instead.

Ibrahim said he will consider the recommendation and informed that funds have been allocated to carry out a feasibility report, adding that the steering committee will table the project before the cabinet for approval so that at least ground work could start.

On this, the chairperson of the standing committee said that should be started as soon as possible and that committee members would appear before the SC if it raises any concern over construction of the building in the park.

“This construction work is for the welfare of poor people and in this case no one should have any concerns,” she said.

The committee also expressed reservation over the procurement of medicine by Polyclinic. They said the hospital should purchase through well-known providers rather than smaller ones.

The committee also expressed concerns over the performance of Pims.

Prof Khaleequz Zaman, the PIMS head of Neurosurgery and also the head of the hospital management committee, said a few senior doctors that are creating hurdle for them in working smoothly.

He said hospital staff had been divided between the hospital and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical Hospital, which is also creating performance issues.

On this the committee members came up with a surprising suggestion to ban all unions in the hospital, despite the fact that unionising is a fundamental right under Article 17 of the Constitution.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2014.


Fed up: LG employees to take to streets from Dec 9



SWABI: Local Government Employees Federation (LGEF), a labour union, has announced it will start demonstrations from December 9 across the province to press for their demands.

While addressing a meeting in Swabi, LGEF provincial president Haji Anwar Kamal said authorities have turned a deaf ear to the demands of local government employees who have been protesting for the past week. LGEF provincial chairman Haji Iqbal Hussain, general secretary Shad Khan and other officials were also present on the occasion.

Kamal added the protesters had even suspended municipal services in different areas but “the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led (PTI) government has no time to address their concerns”.

Kamal said employees are irked by the late payment of salaries, stalled promotions, discrimination and a lack of service structure. He urged the government to regularise temporary employment contracts, adding all the demands are based on basic labour rights.

He added the federation is left with no option but to launch full-scale protests on both the division and district level across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The union president said demonstrations will continue until all their concerns are addressed and threatened to stall municipal services in the province for an indefinite period.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2014.


Fight for rights: Bank employees demand ‘due’ rights



ISLAMABAD: 

The Pakistan Banking Employees Federation (PBEF) has demanded the representation of labour organisations and trade unions in the parliament.

In a press release, the federation’s charter of demand asked the government to reserve 10 per cent seats for workers in the national and provincial assemblies to safeguard their rights.

PBEF has also demanded the reinstatement of hundreds of employees who were sacked from the banking sector and asked both private and public banks to clear arrears of former employees.

The trade union said that pensioners of some private banks were getting as low an amount as Rs2,000 to Rs4,000, while the low-cadre employees have not received a salary raise for years.

The federation demanded that banking employees be given annuity as per the pension rules for government employees.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2014.

 


Municipal employees chant ‘go Imran go’ in Peshawar



PESHAWAR: Municipal employees in Peshawar chanted ‘go Imran go’ and ‘go Khattak go’ in front of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Thursday during a protest demanding increase in pay, Express News reported.

The protesters, who blocked the area causing a major traffic jam, claimed they haven’t been promoted in years and that their pays were not increased.

Police have reached the scene to control the situation and negotiate with the protesters.

It was reported that DCO Saeedul Islam and SSC Operations Najeebullah reached the scene to try and work out a solution for the problem.

However, up till now, no progress has been made as yet.

This is a developing story, and will be updated accordingly. 


Keeping check: FATA Secretariat seeks FIA’s help to trace employees



PESHAWAR: 

The FATA Secretariat has sought the help of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to trace its employees who are abroad.

Following directives of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Mehtab Ahmad Khan, the FATA Secretariat has taken measures to introduce new means and technology to keep a check on its employees and their performances at assigned places.

The measures include a verification process wherein digital pictures and details on the national identity card (NIC) would be matched with those on quittance rolls. After employing the verification methods, two types of missing employees have been found: those who have been absent from their duties but are present in the assigned countries and those who are doing other jobs abroad.

In order to trace such employees, it was decided to approach the immigration wing of the FIA. This would help in finding out the date and place of their departures as well as their arrival back to the country based on their computerised NICs.

These measures will finalise a mechanism with the FIA to check the immigration data of the FATA Secretariat’s employees on a half-yearly basis and to trace those who leave the country without permission. Once found, disciplinary action would be initiated against them.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2014.


On the backburner: Class-IV employees threaten to take to streets



PESHAWAR: 

Members of the All Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Technical and Non-technical Government Employees Coordination Council have threatened to protest on December 4 if the government fails to upgrade clerical staff.

Speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, the association’s president Malik Muhammad Naveed said the government has failed to account for assurances over the last six months. “The government had been using delaying tactics,” he said.

According to Naveed, the cleric staff had protested against the government’s failure to upgrade them on May 22. However, on May 27, provincial assembly member and the then parliamentary secretary Arif Yousaf pledged to take the matter into consideration and upgrade the staff.

Moreover, at a protest outside the provincial assembly, the then provincial information minister Shah Farman met the association’s leadership and pledged to meet their demands.

“The government has yet to take practical steps in this regard,” he said. “A meeting had been scheduled with the chief minister to discuss the matter but it was postponed for unknown reasons.”

A meeting was also organised with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, said the association’s president. “Although we informed Imran about the plight of clerical staff, nothing has been done so far,” he added.

The decision to upgrade clerical staff was announced in 2007. In 2014, the PTI government made another announcement in this regard, but a notification has yet to be issued.

“We make it clear. If the government fails to upgrade the clerical staff, we will take to the streets,” Naveed said. “K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak will be responsible for whatever happens to us on the streets.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2014.


Disgruntled workers: K-P govt employees to protest outside Imran’s house



SWAT: 

The class-IV employees’ association of Swat on Friday announced to stage a sit-in in front of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s residence in Bani Gala from November 27 for being ignored by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.

The body’s president, Sayed Khitab, told the media that the PTI-led provincial government was neither upgrading their pay scale nor increasing salaries while the K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had announced up-gradation of scales of clerks.

He said the provincial government had not paid heed to their demands, adding that they were left with no other option.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2014.


Share offloading: PC offers to sweeten the pot for OGDCL employees



ISLAMABAD: 

As the opposition continues to voice its reservations against the ongoing transaction that will see the government sell 10% of its stake in the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), the administration has moved to pacify the concerns.

The opposition, which includes Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and OGDCL employees, has started disrupting gas supplies, causing more concern to the government and investors alike.

Privatisation Commission (PC) Chairman Mohammad Zubair said the government has offered an olive branch to the opposition.

“I have requested the political leadership to engage with the PPP. and the government is also ready to give more incentives to the employees,” said Zubair, while addressing a press conference held a day after the finalisation of ODGCL stake’s floor price. The PC chairman was left to face a barrage of questions over the ill-timed capital market transaction.

The government, which has faced several obstacles in its attempt to go ahead with the transaction, is already struggling to come up with a credible strategy to justify the poor timing that will reduce its earnings by at least Rs15 billion.

Zubair admitted that the government was undertaking the transaction during difficult times.

He said that out of the 322.4 million shares that have been offered to investors, which come to 7.5% of the total shares of the company, about four million will be sold to employees at reduced rates during the second phase. “The government is ready to sit down with the company’s union and discuss more incentives. Some of the concerns of the employees are genuine.”

He said the government would engage the PPP and is ready to discuss the matter further with Senator Raza Rabbani, who is spearheading the anti-privatisation drive.

“Privatisation is also on the PPP’s agenda and the party carried out as many as 27 privatisation transactions during its second stint in power (1993-1996),” Zubair reminded.

The book-building process to sell 7.5% shares of the company began on Wednesday and would culminate at 1 am on Saturday morning, according to Pakistan time. Once the book building finishes, the cabinet committee on privatisation will approve a cut price at which the shares will be sold to the bidders.

The first phase to sell 311 million shares to international and domestic institutional investors at a floor price of just Rs216 per share began on Wednesday. The government has given a 6% discount on the previous day trading of the OGDCL shares at the Karachi Stock Exchange. The discount would alone cause about Rs5 billion losses on last day’s trading.

Zubair defended the decision of providing the discount and said that the government of General Pervez Musharraf had also carried an OGDCL transaction in 2006 and offered a 9.6% discount.

The second phase will begin after a gap of four to six weeks in which out of the remaining 11 million shares, one-third will be offered to OGDCL employees.

The government has initially anticipated earnings of 0 million by selling 322.4 million shares of the company, said Zubair. “Now we are expecting total earnings to be less than 0 million,” he added.

Zubair said due to various reasons, the government would receive a lower share price of between Rs40 to Rs45 — a staggering figure that would cause Rs15-billion loss to the exchequer. But he insisted that the country will be a net gainer, as reduction in oil prices would result in billion savings on the import of oil.

The International Monetary Fund has linked the approval of .1 billion next loan tranche with divestment of OGDCL’s shares. “As a sovereign country, we are committed to our obligations under the IMF programme,” said Zubair.

He said that the delay caused by a stay order granted by the Peshawar High Court on the petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led provincial government and the sudden fall in oil prices in the international market reduced the government’s earnings.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2014.

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Power trip: When NICVD employees negate, all Sindh has to do is legislate



KARACHI: 

The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) is likely to lose its autonomous status as soon as the Sindh government passes the law to take over it.  All the powers and functions of the board of trustees shall then vest in and be exercised by the governing body under the chairmanship of the chief minister of the province.  “After this law, every member of the trust or this autonomous body will cease to hold office,” proclaims the bill, prepared by the provincial government.

The governing body, headed by the chairperson, will comprise nine other members including the health secretary, health department’s director-general, NICVD executive director, a nominee of the accountant-general of Pakistan, an elected mayor of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), a nominee of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a social worker and two other persons to be nominated by the government. The majority of the board members will be nominated by Sindh government itself.

Simply put, the government will now dominate the board’s policies. The accounts of the institute will be maintained in a manner which the accountant-general of Sindh may determine in consultation with the government.

According to the law and parliamentary affairs minister, Dr Sikandar Mandhro, the ‘National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (Sindh Administration) 2014′ is being passed in view of the 18th Amendment, because the subject of health has now been devolved to the provincial governments. “Earlier, the NICVD was under the domain of the federal health minister. It now works under the Sindh government,” he explained. “We just want to make the law to be able to regulate and control its affairs at the provincial level. The Sindh government will not interfere in its affairs and the institute will retain its autonomous position and governing body which will be independent to make any decisions,” he said.

Contrary to the minister’s claims, however, the bill which is likely to be passed in the next session of the assembly, states: “In discharging of its functions, the governing body shall be guided on questions of policy by the instructions given to it from time to time by the government. The governing body will be bound to carry out such directions.”

What is ironic is that the legislation comes at a time when the issue of devolution of the NICVD is pending before the Sindh High Court as well as the Islamabad High Court. Post 18th Amendment, the employees of this institution had challenged the decision to hand it over to the Sindh government. “Our main demand is to retain the autonomous nature of this institution,” claimed a senior official of the NICVD, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We don’t care if it comes under the Sindh government or the federal government. It should just work independently and be free of any political influence.” Referring to the upcoming law, he said that the Sindh government wanted to grab all the powers. “But we will resist this move at every forum.”

Around 900 permanent employees are currently employed by the NICVD that generates its own funds to run the prestigious cardiac hospital. This is in addition to the Rs700 million that is now given to it in grants by the Sindh government.

The status of the employees, however, is currently on deputation. “We are hanging in the balance as all promotions of employees have been suspended since the promulgation of the 18th Amendment on April 8, 2010,” said Dr Malik Hameedullah, the NICVD’s administrator.

According to him, they cannot take any important decisions and all matters are pending due to the absence of a governing body. “There are several vacant positions that cannot be filled with the approval of the governing body,” he said. “Besides, administrative affairs have also come to a standstill.” Malik added that the government had assured to address all their concerns through the legislation. He, however, put little hope in the legislation. “I have seen the draft of the bill. It is almost the same law under which we have been working prior to the devolution.

Legal experts, on the other hand, say that the law cannot be passed because the matter is sub judice. “Not only is the issue pending before the SHC, the Islamabad High Court has opposed the decision to hand over the institute to the Sindh government by declaring the notification null and void,” said Azam Khan, the lawyer who is representing the NICVD employees in the case in the SHC. He added that the upcoming legislation will be questionable until and unless the court gives the verdict.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2014.


United front: Employees say no to ODGCL privatisation



DERA GHAZI KHAN: 

Scores of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (ODGCL) employees in Dera Ghazi Khan on Friday protested against police action against their colleagues in Islamabad.

Employees Union Secretary General Tabassum Tauqeer Qasrani led the protest.

The protesters boycotted work and marched to Dhodak plant where they chanted slogans against the government.

“Our colleagues were protesting against proposed privatisation of the ODGCL,” he said.

“Police resorted to baton charge and threw tear gas at 300 workers,” he said.

He said privatisation of the ODGCL would be opposed at all forums.

“We will continue to protest until the government clarifies its intentions about the future of the organisation,” he said.

He said the ODGCL was one of the most profitable public sector corporations. He said the country earned Rs200 billion through the ODGCL.

“Privatising a profitable organisation would be tantamount to robbing millions of Pakistanis,” he said.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab on Friday informed the National Assembly that the government had no plan to privatise the OGDCL.

He assured the parliament that no employee would be laid off.

He accused some OGDCL employees of unlawful assembly in the capital and injuring a deputy superintendent of police (DSP).

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2014.