By Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC)
On September 14, at Parda Bagh Peshawar, a new history was set in the Pakistani working-class Movement. Thousands of workers, Government employees and pensioners from more than 61 labour organizations, trade unions and pensioners associations united under the umbrella of All Pakistan Employees, Labor and Pensioners Movement participated and wrathfully protested against IMF’s vicious policies. The protest is a clear message for the ruling elite of this country that workers are united in protecting their institutions and their livelihoods. The struggle against the IMF dictated policies and capitalism is being fought by various organizations in the country. However, the protests in Peshawar have set a new precedent in the history of the country in terms of worker’s joint struggle. Last time such overwhelming workers unity was demonstrated in the 1968-69 revolution when Bashir Bakhtiar leader of WAPDA Hydro Electric Union, Mirza Ibrahim leader of Pakistan Railway Workers Union and other leaders joined hands and organized all workers federations and organizations under the banner of ‘Joint Labor Council’. The Joint Labor Council went on a nationwide strike on March 17, 1969, which led to the resignation of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. This trade union alliance was also tried during the Zia-ul-Haq era during the ‘Movement for the Restoration of Democracy’. However, for a long time the workers’ unity slogan has been reverberating, but it has been put into practice at the national level by ‘All Pakistan Employees, Workers and Pensioners Movement’.
آل پاکستان ایمپلائز پنشنرز و لیبر تحریک کے زیر اہتمام ائی ایم ایف کے خلاف پشاور میں عظیم الشان احتجاجی جلسہ جاری #پشاور #آل_پاکستان_ایمپلائز_لیبر_تحریک
The meeting was scheduled for 11 am in the morning, but even before it the participants started arriving in the form of rallies from various institutions. The enthusiasm of the participants was palpable, slogans of ‘No To IMF, Long Live the Workers’ Union, Go Imran Go’ were being chanted by participants, and marvellous solidarity was expressed. The growing hatred against the capitalist system in the hearts of the working people is pushing them for a revolt, everywhere in the world. There was hope and determination in the eyes of thousands of employees and workers at Peshawar Jalsa. The day of action resulted in the complete strike in government offices across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces bordering Afghanistan.
The institutions joined the meeting include All Government Employees Coordination Council Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (AGECC), All Pakistan Wapda Hydroelectric Union CBA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), Paramedical Association KPK, All Pakistan Class Four Association KPK, All Pakistan Hydro Workers Association KPK, Employees Social Security Institute Employees Association KPK, All Secretaries Association, All Pakistan Workers Welfare Board Employees Association, All Municipal Workers Union WSSP Registered CBA Peshawar, Mazdoor Ittehad Municipal Workers Union City District and All Towns Peshawar, C&W Operational and Maintenance Association KPK among others along with their employees.
Officials of APCA District Peshawar and officials and employees of various departments including Endowment Department, Health Department, Wildlife Department, Fisheries Department, Forest Department, Department of Industries, Government Printing Press Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Population Welfare, Department of Mines and Minerals, Department of C&W, Department of Higher Education, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Judiciary, Department of Archives and Libraries, Department of Sports, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Of Technical Education, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Text Book Board, Provincial Health Services Academy Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated in large numbers. Apart from this, cabinet members and associates of Khudam Al-Masjid Organization, Endowment Department, Technical Staff Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department, Civil Secretariat Drivers Association, Civil Secretariat Class Four Association and Grand Health Alliance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also participated with the delegation.
Among national-level unions, Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign (PTUDC), Civil Aviation Authority Joint Action Committee Peshawar Airport, Railway Labor Union and Railway Mazdoor Ittehad, Municipal Labor Union Metropolitan Rawalpindi, People Teachers Forum Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, All Pakistan Government Employees Federation and Muttahida Mahaz Teachers Pakistan, People’s Unity PIA Islamabad, Progressive Labor Union State Bank of Pakistan, Ittehad Workers Union, All Pakistan PTCL Pensioners Trust, Pakistan Pensioners Association and others along with a large number of workers of these institutions joined this protest meeting.
After the meeting, a grand rally was taken from Parda Bagh to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly and a sit-in was called outside the Provincial Assembly. Addressing the protest the speakers condemned the IMF dictated policies of the government. They said that the life of the workers had become unbearable due to their failed policies. They further added that representatives of government associations and unions should be given representation in the Pay and Pension Commission and steps should be taken to publish the recommendations of the commission immediately. The welfare schemes of all government employees including CP Fund, GP Fund, Group Insurance, Benevolent Fund and the insurance system have become obsolete and poor. Contradictions and discriminations should be eliminated by giving utility allowances and special allowances to all government employees on the lines of federal and provincial secretariat employees. There is strong opposition against the federal and provincial governments’ plan to decreases the retirement age to 55 years or less.
At the end, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Central Chairman All Pakistan Employees’ Pensioners and Labor Movement, said if our demands not met, a historic sit-in would be held on October 14 in front of Parliament House, Islamabad. Which will be continued until the demands are met.