Pakistani DAWN reprted that Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation’s workers union has urged Pakistan’s Supreme Court to declare the recent retrenchment, sacking and removal of about 9,350 employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation illegal. The petition, instituted by senior counsel Mr Rasheed A Razvi on behalf of the Pakistan Steel Peoples Workers Union, requested the Supreme Court to strike down these sackings after declaring the same a violation of the fundamental rights of workers. Supreme Court is also requested to suspend the directives and notification regarding the retrenchment and removal of 9,350 employees till the time the petition is pending before the court. The secretary of industries and production, ministries of finance and inter provincial coordination, the Economic Coordination Committee, Council of Common Interests, chief secretary of Sindh and Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation have been named as respondents in the petition.
The petition also urged the court to declare that the privatisation/retrenchment and evaluation of the mills’ machinery and its land and assets being initiated by the government were without jurisdiction, illegal, mala fide and carried out without following the directives of the Supreme Court as laid down in the Wattan Party case through the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation.
The petition requested the court to declare the retrenchment plan and government actions undertaken subsequent to such plan, including issuance of retrenchment letters to 4,544 employees in the first phase, illegal and without jurisdiction and against the fundamental rights of the petitioners.
It also asked the Supreme Court to declare the actions of ECC releasing the retrenchment plan ultra vires and without jurisdiction as this exercise was futile in nature and against the principle laid down in the Wattan Party case.
Through the petition a question of public importance and enforcement of fundamental rights has been raised, particularly Articles 4, 9, 14, 18, 23, 24 and 25 of the Constitution, as well as consideration of principles enshrined in Articles 37 and 38.
The petition argued that a national institution of paramount importance was being privatised by the current management of PSM allegedly in connivance with the current political regime. An attempt to privatise the PSM was also made in 2006, but that was revoked and aborted in the Wattan Party case judgement.
The PSM is strategically located 40km south-west of Karachi in close vicinity of Port Qasim, spread over an area of 19,013 acres with 10,273 acres for the main plant and downstream industries, 8,071 acres for the township and 271.28 acres for the water reservoir.