Pakistan Reports Workers' Movement

Rawalpindi: Labour Conference Against Privatization

By PTUDC Rawalpindi

On 13th December 2018, a Labor Conference was organized by Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC) in Jinnah Hall Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi. The purpose of this conference was to unite the workers against the government’s privatization policy and to start a systematic struggle for labour rights, regularization of daily wage workers and contract employees. The program started at 11 am. The program was presided by Ghulam Mohammad Naz, leader of the Municipal Labor Union, while the special guests were Muhammad Ali Wazir, Member National Assembly, Ramadan Laghari, President of People’s Unity of PIA (CBA) Islamabad and Syed Arif Shah, Central Chairman Utility Stores Union (CBA).

The conference was opened by Asif Rashid, organizer Revolutionary Students Front (RSF). He shed light on the crisis of capitalism and neo-liberal economics. He also discussed the importance of labor politics around the world. Other speakers include Aajaz Ahmad, Central President Radio Pakistan Workers Union, Raja Imran, Leader Rail Workers Union, Shahid Raza, General Secretary WMC Worker Union, Khalid Kayani, Deputy Chairman Democratic Worker Union State Bank, Siraj Gul Khattak, President PPP labour Bureau Attock, Chaudhry Mubashir, President  APCA Rawalpindi, Bawa Imtiaz, General Secretary Worksmen Association, Majid Yaqubi Awan, Chief President Employees Union PTDC Motels, Javed Khan, President Municipal Labor Union Corporation, Shoaib Khan Vice President Peoples Unity PIA. Changez Malik, Central Joint Secretary PTUDC, performed the duties of stage secretary.

Speakers condemned privatization plans of PTI government. The privatization resulted in the unemployment of the millions of workers, they said. The workers will not allow any institution to be privatized, we are all united and the successful struggle of utility store workers encouraged the labour movement across the country. Furthermore, growing inflation has worsened the lives of workers. Apart from the struggle, there is no option for the workers.

Ali Wazir’s (MNA) Speech

Speaking about the Labour rights, the Members of National Assembly, Ali Wazir said, “We will fight for our rights, by not only working in the workers of Pakistan but also by organizing the working class against unemployment and inflation. The government took away bread and butter from the workers, they promised the construction of 50 lac houses and creating one million jobs, but in reality, thousands of the workers have been displaced and unemployed by PTI government policies. We will organize our struggle not only in the assembly but also in the streets and squares for the defence of labour union and students union. He further stated, the support and solidarity with the affectees of FATA and other areas, due to the military operations and terrorism, are also the responsibility of trade unions. If we fight together, the success will be our destination. The People’s Unity President, Ramazan Laghari said, the PIA workers struggled against the privatization of the PIA, we have lessons to learn from that movement. The labour unions need to be organized in every institution. After the privatization of state institutions, there will be a new attack and so on. The struggle against the privatization is very crucial for every worker of Pakistan. Arif Shah, Chairman of Utility Stores Corporation Workers Union, said along with the utility stores workers’ struggle, the struggle of the PIA workers and PTUDC comrades played a decisive role in our success. If we are united and organized no power can defeat the workers. Ghulam M Naz concluded the conference.

In the end, all participants unanimously approved a working committee for the joint struggle of the Trade Unions and workers. Comrade Changez of PTUDC elected as a coordinator. The next session of this committee will be in the office of the Radio Pakistan Workers Union. Finally, a resolution, comprised upon the following demands, was presented and unanimously approved by all their workers.

Resolution

  • Privatization policy should be abandoned, the Ministry of privatization should be eliminated. Factories and institutions that have been privatized must be nationalised.
  • Elimination of the contract system. Contract and temporary jobs and Daily wage workers should be regularized, immediately.
  • Minimum wage should be equal to 1 tola Gold and must be adjusted according to the inflation rate.
  • Working hours must be reduced to 35 hours per week rather than 48 hours.
  • All anti-labour laws should be eliminated
  • The Union registration process should be easier and efficient. Alternative institutions should be replaced by the Department of Labor, Social Security, Employees Old Age Benefits and NIRC to protect the workers’ interests.
  • All industries should be nationalised and given in the workers’ democratic control.
  • Implementation of security laws by prioritizing gender protection in the work environment. In case of an accident at a workplace, the criminal cases should be lodged on the owners.
  • Free accommodation, travel and treatment for workers.
  • The owner’s right of ‘forced layoffs’ should be revoked. For resolving the conflicts, reconciliation committees must be formed with the representation of workers and trade unions.
  • Labour courts should be formed at the level of Tehsil, the pending labour cases should be fixed immediately.
  • At least 30% of the budget should be spent on education and health.
  • The hardcore construction work should be done by the machinery and thousands of workers of these departments should be given government jobs.
  • Women must be given equal opportunities in the jobs and every other sector, the domestic work must be socialised.
  • Students Union should be restored.
  • All teachers should be regularizing immediately.
  • The salaries of employees working in the private media industry should be paid immediately.
  • At the end of the program, A rally was organized against the privatization, unemployment and inflation. The participants of the rally were holding the play cards and banners and chanting slogans for their rights and against inflation, privatization and unemployment.  Rally marched from Municipal Corporation office to Garden College.

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