exit signOver 30 of our editorial staff has been forced to resign yesterday for reasons known to the powers that be. With each employee who has been sacked, a few more lives depending on them have been affected. They were all working here for some reason –arranging for their children’s and siblings’ weddings, paying their rent and children’s school fee, save some money for their education or pay for their ailing parents’ treatment. They have no jobs right now.

These sacked employees have been promised that they will receive three months’ salaries – a claim that can hardly be substantiated by the pattern set by the company when it comes to payments on time. (The routine goes like this: I will get the salary for the month of August on like September 15 or later). Let’s assume that our sacked employees will be paid for the next three months and have this time to look for another job. Now, ponder over the position of these employees when they sit down at the negotiation table with another employer. The new employer is aware of the fact that this applicant needs a job right now. Keeping in mind the avarice and manipulative shrewdness of the capitalist entrepreneur (let’s stop kidding ourselves, journalism is also a business for those who invest), analyze the probability of the sacked employee getting his demand (salary/post) fulfilled. This bulk layoff has not only rendered these people unemployed, it has also affected their future to immense proportions.

Let’s not forget that these sacked employees have dedicated their time and energy to making the paper what it is today. Yeah, yeah they got paid for their work and all. But the profits that they generated went to the pockets of the Lakhanis while the salaries of the employees remained the same.

And this is not the end of the blatant exploitation of workers being carried out by our shameless employers. Those of us who remain and work at Tribune have a situation of its own kind. While I (like most others) have not had an increment or promotion since last year despite increasing loads of work, the exploitation is likely to turn into oppression. Those who remain will be working extra to make the pages of Lahore and Islamabad editions. This means that while we will do the work that we have been doing, we will also be doing extra work for the other editions. (Meanwhile, Peshawar edition has been shut down with the editor based in Peshawar forced to resign. The rest of the Peshawar desk, based in Karachi, will now work with other existing employees on the Islamabad edition). The juiciest part is that none of us doing this extra work will get any more compensation. Lest we forget, hiring of new employees had been completely banned for quite some time.

I wish that the existing employees stand up to this shameless oppression in unity and refuse to work until our sacked colleagues are reinstated. Unfortunately, however, this is least likely to happen since we all are part of the package oiling this machine of our own oppression.

By former employee at The Express Tribune