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80 FFBL employees go to court after being sacked

80 FFBL employees go to court after being sacked

ISLAMABAD: After their services were terminated, employees of Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Ltd (FFBL) have accused the company management of nepotism while making recruitments and of corruption, while the management maintains the contracts of these employees had expired and they were offered new contracts via a third party.

According to its website, FFBL is a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Ordinance 1984 and has a modern Granular Urea and Di-Ammonium Phosphate fertilizer manufacturing complex. The plant was brought to suspension in 2001 due to an accumulated loss of Rs6.5 billion and resumed production in September 2003.

A document signed by 87 employees, which is available with Dawn, accuses the management of the company of nepotism while making recruitments and of corruption.

Applications written to the General Headquarters, the chief of army staff and other offices claim the company management was violating rules, including the recruitment of over age employees and the misuse of guest houses and vehicles. FFBL Admin Manager retired Col Sohail Khairat said these allegations were baseless and wrong.

“It was decided that the employees who could not fit in the organogram will be appointed through a private contractor though the new set up had increased the company’s expenses by 17pc. However, 78 employees refused to sign the contract and demanded their services be regularised,” he said.

Mr Khairat said the employees’ contracts had also expired and that it is therefore not correct to say they were dismissed from service.

“If they had agreed to the contract they were offered, they would have been paid the same salary, but some of the employees went to court,” he added.

He said the company had faced a similar issue six years ago and that a court had then decided that the employees will continue working as FFBL employees and will be hired via a third party six years later.

“The majority of them did not perform their duties properly because they knew they will not be dismissed for six years. Now, they want their services to be regularised so that they are paid their salaries without doing any work,” he said.

When asked about allegations of corruption made by the employees, Mr Khairat said internal and external audits are carried out every three months and that the allegations were baseless.

FFBL Secretary retired Brig Mohammad Azam Tiwana said that when appointments via a third party were offered, 40 of the 120 employees had agreed and the remaining had gone to court for the regularisation of their services.

He said some of the employees are over 60 years of age and want their services to be regularised so that they can get some financial benefit.

“The managing director of the company, retired Gen Haroon Aslam, is leaving soon and the employees are hoping he will regularise their services before leaving,” he said.

One of the employees, 50-year-old Khalid Mehmood said he retired from the army after 23 years of service as a hawaldar in 2008 with a pension of a little over Rs7,000, which has since increased to Rs13,500 per month.

“I retired at the age of 41 and I have six children, two of whom are in college and one goes to school. Then I got a job at Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Ltd (FFBL) with a salary of Rs32,000 per month and there are four bonuses a year due to which I was able to run my house,” he told Dawn.

“I cannot afford to pay for my children’s education anymore. I have been trying to get someone to listen to what I have to say, but even the media will not take up my case and some said that my employers’ name has the word ‘Fauji’ in it,” he said.

A soldier, Tariq Javed said he retired from the army in 2001 and was paid a pension of Rs8,400 a month.

“I was paid Rs26,000 at the company but now that I have been laid off, I cannot afford to send my three children to school,” he said.

“I have served in some of the hard areas, such as Chakothi and Skardu and I was hoping to live a peaceful life after retirement, but it seems that a soldier who gave the prime years of his life to the Pakistan Army, difficulties will never end,” he added.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2016

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