Radio Pakistan laid off 749 contract employees

Mandatory Service Act being used to suppress the protests 

The management of Radio Pakistan has terminated the services of 749 contract workers. The management is using the Mandatory Service Act to lay off the workers and quell the protest against the laid offs.  The employees terminated were working for years. First, the management did not paid salaries for months and finally their services terminated. The management issued the notification in this regard on October 20. 

This has happened despite the assurances from the PTI government that no government employee will be sacked or laid off. Hundreds of families have lost their livelihood in the middle of an economic crisis. They have joined millions of other workers made unemployment in last two years.   

They have known for months, but they cling onto the hope that it won’t happen to them in ‘Naya Pakistan’. During being in the opposition on top of a shipping container, Khan’s claims for not to fire anyone from their jobs, were mere claims, but the reality is not the same anymore.

According to notification, Radio Pakistan’s contractual employees, anchors, announcers, artists, music composers, and translators have been laid off. Under the exact text of the order issued by the DG, PBC Office in August 2020;

All the contracts of casual artists being booked on consolidated fees are hereby terminated with immediate effect and the program/News, Wings/NCAC,and are advised to book/hire casual artists according to PBC approved fee structure on as and when required bases.

All the previous PBC headquarters approval/ sanctions i.e. programs/ News, Wings/NCAC regarding 26 days booking, and 21 days booking to the casual artist is stand withdrawn.

All the PBC Headquarters’ programs/ News, Wings/NCAC, sanction/approval regarding booking of casual artists on special package stand suspended forthwith.

                                 

The Board of Governance meeting took place on August 20 in which all these decisions were made. Furthermore, the Compulsory Service Act will also be implemented on Pakistan Television, which is feared to lead to a large number of employees being laid off.

The PTI government is eying on the land of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Pakistan) which owns precious land worth billions of rupees across the country. The government wants to minimise the service of Radio Pakistan and layoffs is part of this plan. The government wants to use this land for Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme to build flats.  

The federal government’s last attempt in 2019 was fiercely resisted by the employees and unions. The protest movement of workers forced the government to retreat. The recent laid offs are linked with the plan to restructure the PBC.

Radio Pakistan is facing financial crunch as government is not releasing required amount of money to properly run the transmission.  

                                                                 R K Bhatti 


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