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Utility stores employees continue protest despite assurances from PM’s aide

ISLAMABAD: Employees of the Utility Stores Corporation refused to end their protest on Monday despite assurances from Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on political affairs Naeem-ul-Haq that their demands would be fulfilled 

Hundred of employees of the Utility Stores Corporation from across the country were protesting against the likely closure of the stores and demanded permanent contracts.

The employees marched from the corporation’s head office in Blue Area to D-Chowk but were stopped by police from proceeding to the Parliament House.

However, the PM’s aide addressed the agitated employees and assured that all their demands would be fulfilled and no one would lose their jobs neither would any outlet be closed.

He also assured that all daily wage earners and contract employees would be regularised by the government by implementing an order passed in 2017. He said that government would also pay all the outstanding amounts owed by the Utility Stores Corporation.

He said that nation was burdened with massive debts and foreign loans which will be repaid by the federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

However, despite the assurances the employees refused to end the protest until a notification was issued and the planned privatization of the utility stores corporation was halted immediately.

The employees of the Utility Stores Corporation, the country’s biggest state-run retail chain, had urged the government to settle Rs 27.6 billion worth of subsidy claims pending for the last seven years, which is creating a financial crunch for the corporation, leading to its possible closure.

They also demanded that their contracts be made permanent and wages and salaries be increased, and had threatened to close utility stores until their demand were not fulfilled.

Earlier in August, the government ordered the Utility Stores Corporation to halt all purchases until further notice, leaving as many as 14,000 employees in the lurch.

The Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan is a state-owned enterprise that operates chain stores all over the country which provide basic commodities to the general public at prices lower than the open market due to government subsidies.

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