More than 120 trade union activists and leaders of different trade unions attended a meeting organised by Trade Union Rights Campaign in the Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited Colony in Islamabad on 13 July.
This meeting had to be organised semi-clandestinely because the PTCL management forbids political meetings on its premises. As a result we were only expecting just 60 to 70 people in this meeting. Even an attendance like this would have been extremely good.
This meeting was organised after the sale of 26 % shares of PTCL on the stock exchange. The fact that 120 trade unionists came to the meeting shows the influence of and respect for the work done by TURCP in the recent telecommunication workers strike. Azad Qadri, National organising secretary and Azam Janjuah, Organiser TURCP Islamabad presided over the meeting. Khalid Bhatti was the main speaker. Representatives of 13 different trade unions spoke in the meeting: Chaudhry Zaigham, Ibrar Abbasi, Mukhtar ahmad, Rana Jaffar, Tahir Abbasi, Hamad Qureshi, Shaukat Satti, Mukhtar Ahmad, Munir Abbasi, Malik Maqbool Hussain, Zahoor awan, Zafar Zaidi, Assam Sajad Akhtar, Azad Qadri, Azam Janjuah, and Khalid Bhatti.
Many of the speakers paid rich tribute to the TURCP and Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI in Pakistan) for their very important role in this struggle. The Action Committee (an alliance of nine trade unions formed to coordinate the struggle against privatisation) members leaders also thanked all the sections of the CWI for their solidarity and protest demonstrations in front of Pakistani Embassies around the world. Representatives of the Action Committee assured those at the meeting that they would continue their struggle against privatisation of PTCL and they would not make any agreement with the management to accept the privatisation, downsizing, retrenchments and other anti-worker policies.
This meeting gave new confidence to the leading members of the unions. Now the Action Committee has started a campaign to involve all telecom workers to restart the campaign against privatisation, something which was discussed in the TURCP meeting. This shows the important role that the TURCP is playing in reorganising the struggle against privatisation and other anti-worker policies. The Action committee has also produced a poster as decided in the meeting, which was prepared and designed by TURCP members.