Kashmir: Trade Union Rights Campaign organises first ever trade union conference in Kashmir

More than 100 Trade Union and Political Leaders attend trade union rights conference

On 4 August, the Trade Union Rights Campaign of Kashmir organised the first trade union conference in the history of Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (POK). Held at the Sardah View Hotel in Kotli, it gathered together trade union leaders, political workers and leaders from all the districts of Kashmir and many cities of Pakistan. They criticised the anti-worker policies of the government and said that it was really shameful for the ruling class of Kashmir that no labour laws and trade union rights exist in POK. They said that workers have been treated like slaves and they have no basic democratic rights.

No trade union can be formed in this part of Kashmir. The ruling elite and main political parties have no interest in the problems of the working class. They have imposed all the anti-worker laws and policies made by the Pakistani regime, but they never show any interest in solving the problems of the working masses.

The working class needs unity to launch struggles against all the anti-working class policies and to win their fundamental rights – especially freedom of association and the right to strike. TURC Kashmir will continue to fight for workers’ rights. All the trade union and political leaders present at the meeting congratulated the TURCK for organising this successful conference. It is a first real opening for the TURCK and for Socialist Liberation (CWI in Kashmir).

These demands were agreed on unanimously in the Conference:The right to form unions in all public and private institutions.

  • Repeal the Special Powers Act; reinstate all the workers sacked under this act.
  • Make labour policy, in accordance with ILO conventions.
  • Set up labour courts, introduce labour laws and industrial relations laws immediately. Allocate special seats for workers and peasants in the legislative assembly. Implement the agreement made with private hospital workers including wage increases and an 8-hour working day.
  • Set up public services tribunals in all the districts of Kashmir.

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August 2005