PTCL sacks union leaders and workers
* Kohlu-Duki link disconnected in attack
* Union says 700 arrested, 200,000 lines disrupted
ISLAMABAD: The management of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited on Monday terminated a number of union leaders and workers from service.
“Employees were terminated all over the country. Off the cuff I don’t have the exact figure,” PTCL President Junaid Khan told Daily Times. Asked whether the management had the authority to terminate its employees without giving them notice, he said the laws allowed the management to terminate employees who were involved in illegal strikes or sabotage activities. He said the termination had given a clear-cut message to all PTCL employees that the company would not allow them to be involved in sabotage activities. Among others the union leaders, Rana Tahir, Haji Khan Bhatti, Malik Maqbool, Zafar Zaidi, Latif Qureshi, Noor Bux, Sabir Butt and Shahid Ayub were believed to have been terminated.
The PTCL union reacted to the termination sharply, saying that the management’s tactics could not break the will of the workers. The union claimed attendance in PTCL offices was less than 10 percent throughout the country. The PTCL president denied the union’s claim, saying it was 70 to 90 percent.
“Less than 10 percent PTCL employees attended the offices. Most of the officers remained on duty, while army personnel were performing the duties of the absent workers,” Malik Maqbool, a union leader said. He claimed all 29 members of the PTCL workers action committee were terminated form their jobs. He once again threatened to jam the inter-cities telecommunication service by June 15.
PTCL sources said that at several places, rangers and police did not allow PTCL workers to enter their offices. In some cases, the employees waited till noon for clearance.
A PTCL spokesman stated: “The PTCL system throughout the country is working efficiently and the staff attendance in the offices also remained satisfactory.” He asserted that work at all PTCL offices remained smooth and the employees did not face any difficulty in reaching their offices.
Azizullah Khan adds from Quetta: Unidentified people on Monday blew up a PTCL repeater station in the Kohlu and Duki area, around 300km east of the Balochistan capital. Communication links of Kohlu and Duki were disconnected from the rest of the country. Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, a PTCL spokesman said the Mastung fibre optic cable damaged on Sunday had been repaired.
Agencies add: Shahid Ayub Khan, a member of the PTCL Workers Action Committee, told Reuters that over 700 people had been arrested during the last three days and in some cases even family members of the workers were harassed. He said that industrial action had disrupted more than 200,000 phone lines but the PTCL chief rejected that claim, saying only 500 lines were disrupted by a fire late Saturday in Lahore.