The Chinese employees working for Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project of the Punjab Mass Transit Authority in Lahore, are being paid higher salaries as compared to their Pakistani counterparts, reported The News International.
The large disparity between the wages of Chinese and Pakistani employees have lowered the morale of the local staff and can affect the operations of OLMT. It has been reported that the Pakistani employees are paid as per different grade system than the 200 odd Chinese employees. The News reported that Chinese workers are drawing salaries in Yuans while the Pakistani employees are paid in Pakistani Rupees (PKR).
The disparity in salaries of Chinese and Pakistani employees
Three top managerial positions at OLMT are held by Chinese officials. The salary of a Chinese Deputy CEO/CFO/Director is about 1,36,000 yuans (= 3.26 million PKR) under the L2 grading system. Similarly, a Chinese employee working as the DGM is paid 83,000 yuans (=1.9 million PKR) per month. However, the salary of their Pakistani counterpart is significantly lower. For the same position, Pakistani DGM (Equipment and Maintenance) Umer Chisti is paid 6,25,000 PKR while Salmanul Haq, another locally recruited DGM of Finance and Accounts, is paid 4,00,000 PKR.
Reportedly, Chinese origin employees were recruited through the GMG company for the post of GM (Operations and Management). They are being paid around 92,000 yuan (=2 million PKR) every month. Similarly, 7 Chinese officials recruited on the post of GM of the auxiliary Department of DGM (Operations and Management). They are paid around 89,000 yuan (~ 2 million PKR). At the same time, 7 Chinese-origin assistants to GM are paid 78,000 yuans every month. 5 Chinese managers are paid 68000 yuans (=1.63 million PKR) each while 6 Chinese engineers/deputy managers/chief dispatchers are paid 60,000 yuans every month (=1.43 million PKR).
The disparity in staff salary is also seen at lower levels of the project hierarchy. For instance, 43 Chinese-origin employees recruited for the post of technicians or train operators are paid 47,500 yuan (= 1.13 million PKR) each. 12 Chinese train crews/train dispatchers are being paid 57,000 yuan (=1.36 million PKR). At the same time, 3 Chinese depot dispatcher/assistant engineers are paid 52000 yuan (=1.24 million PKR).
However, locally recruited train operator Ateeq Ur Rehman is paid a mere 60,000 PKR. While Admin officer Hassan Zahid and Fleet officer Badar Riaz are paid 55,000 PKR, interpreter Mubasher Ali is paid 1,00,000 PKR. At the same time, equipment dispatcher Mushahid Saleem, supply chain executive Adeel Malik, track engineer Muhammad Ali are paid 80,000 PKR, 80000 PKR and 1,75,000 PKR. Several Pakistan-origin workers, recruited for the project, believe that the wide pay gap is affecting the operations of OLMT.
Low salary won’t have an impact on morale, claims Pakistan authorities
While speaking on the issue of salary disparity between Pakistani and Chinese employees, General Manager (Operations) Uzair Shah of Punjab Mass Transit Authority stated that the Chinese officials are in Pakistan to train their counterparts. He conceded that the Chinese employees are paid high wages and that too in the foreign currency of yuan. Shah informed that about 200 Chinese employees are working on the project, out of which 102 of them are recruited as drivers.
On being asked about the low morale of Pakistani workers, Shah dismissed the existence of any such thing. He claimed that comparisons cannot be drawn between the salaries of Pakistani and Chinese officials and that it has no bearing on the morale of the employees. While conceding that Chinese workers are here to train their Pakistani counterparts, the local staff said that the wide wage gap raises several questions.