Pakistan: 200 trade unionists discuss fight against anti-worker policies

Support given to 2,300 sacked Habib Bank workers

The Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan (TURCP) held a successful meeting at the Press Club, in Lahore, on 14 March, to discuss the situation facing workers in the public sector.

More than 200 trade unionists from different public sector unions attended the meeting, which was addressed by the leaders of largest public sector unions. The office bearers of the newly founded post workers’ union were also invited, so that the meeting could congratulate them for their recent brave and courageous struggle [see earlier reports on]. TURCP members played a key role in the formation of the new postal workers’ union.

Speakers at the 14 March meeting condemned the anti-worker policies of the Pakistan government, which is implementing vicious policies dictated by the IMF and World Bank. The privatisation policy carried out by the military-led government is intended to destroy the public sector. This policy has been pursued by various governments for 15 years. It will not only weaken trade unions in the public sector, but will also destroy many large public sector industrial units. The government has banned trade union activities in many public sector corporations.

The speakers at the TURCP meeting also stressed the need for workers’ unity and called for the workers to get organised to defeat anti-workers policies. They strongly condemned the sacking of 2,300 workers at Habib Bank (the recently privatised and largest bank in Pakistan), who were sacked three days ago, without prior notice. The meeting pledged support for the sacked workers.

Those who spoke in the seminar included, Fazl-e-wahid, National Secretary General of the Railway Workers’ union Workshops CBA, Amin Bhatti, Convener of the Sacked Workers’ Action Committee and Secretary General of the PLB, Azad Qadri, National Organising Secretary of the TURCP, Khalid Bhatti, National organiser of the TURCP, Fazal Abbas Shah, National Chairman of the TURCP, Altaf Baluch, President Mutthida, Labour Federation (MLF) Punjab, Talat Mehmood Assam, President of the Postal Employees and Workers’ Union, Asadulla Khan, National Secretary, General Postal Employees and Workers’ Union, Lala Hanif, National Secretary, General Telecom Lions Unity, Ahmmad Saeed, Shafique Ahmad, and others.

This seminar was widely covered by all the main newspapers.

The following resolutions were unanimously passed by the meeting’s participants:

  • Repeal anti-worker and anti-union laws
  • Immediately announce a referendum in the postal services for collective bargaining rights
  • Stop downsizing, retrenchment, privatisations, ban on trade union activities, cuts on wages and living standards
  • Provide social security, pensions and benefits to private sector workers
  • No to the IMF and World Bank
  • Immediately reinstate the Habib Bank sacked workers
  • Full union rights in all public and private sector corporations, industries, businesses and departments, along with the right of strike.

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March 2006