Pakistan Steel Mills only requires 1,000 employees, authorities tell the court

Pakistani labourers pour melted metal into a cast at an iron factory in Karachi on April 30, 2019, on the eve of the International Labour Day celebrated on May 1. (Photo by ASIF HASSAN / AFP)

The Pakistan Steel Mills is going to keep 1,000 employees and fire the remaining 7,884 people because of overstaffing, the authorities said in a report submitted to the Supreme Court on Friday.

The decision to fire the employees was taken by the Board of Human Resource Committee on April 15, it said, adding the government should pay a total of Rs40 billion to the retired and currently working employees.

It said that the federal government must hire a new CEO soon for the mills.

Below is a graph of the overstaffing by the mills over the years, according to the Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation. The graph was part of the report.

In 2019, the mills had a workforce of 9,350 people and it was reduced to 8,884 in 2020.

According to the report, the government has paid Rs30 billion to the employees since the Mills were closed in 2015. Moreover, the state has spent Rs92 billion on bailouts and employee salaries.

The steel mills’ lawyer said that they can’t sell the land allotted for them because the Supreme Court has already issued a stay order against it.

The Pakistan Steel Mills, which is owned by the federation, is engaged in the manufacture and sale of iron and steel. It is spread over 18,642 acres, of which 10,000 acres is for the Mills while 8,000 is for Steel Town, a residential area, hospital and school.

The Mills have been running in a loss since 2008 and were eventually shut down in 2015. It has caused losses of Rs229 billion to the national treasury.

The Supreme Court will hear the case of the Pakistan Steel Mills employees on June 9. A bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising justices Ijazul Ahsan and Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi will take it up.

On June 3, the Economic Coordination Committee approved firing all employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills. A Rs20 billion package has been prepared for the employees and each of them will be given at least Rs2.3 million as golden handshake


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