The Trade Union Rights Campaign – Kashmir have been in the forefront of helping to organise solidarity for thousands of earthquake affected public sector workers in Pakistani Occupied Kashmir (POK).
These workers have been campaigning for their demands since last year, through protest actions and demonstrations. In November 2006, over 20,000 public sector workers from three districts in an area called Poonch united their struggles and submitted a charter of demands to the ruling right-wing Muslim Conference government led by Sardar Attique Khan the, Prime Minister of POK.
The workers formed an Employees Action Committee to lead their struggle, which organised demonstrations in November and December. They are continuing to build for full strike action.
On 15th January, the POK Prime Minister visited Bagh, his home district and one of the badly affected areas in the earthquake. The local administration made arrangements for a meeting between the PM and the workers. After nearly 12 hour’s the PM met workers on the steps of the local administration’s building and rubbished their demands.
An emergency meeting was held the same evening in which new plans for action were drawn up by the leadership of the Employees Action Committee, including a rolling programme of limited strike action leading to an all out strike from 6 Feruary.:
The Employees Action Committee through the TURC-K have made an appeal to trade unionists and young people for messages of solidarity to the striking workers and protests to the authorities concerned. The TURC-K and its sister organisation in Pakistan, the TURC-P are organizing solidarity action in Pakistan and Kashmir.
Please include in the letter of protests the necessity to implement the following demands of the Employees Action Committee
- Earthquake affected workers loans be written off from 8th Oct 2005
- As announced by the Federal Government of Pakistan, three months advance salary as bonus be implemented.
- HBA-house building advance should be implemented on district level.
- Compensation of 30-50,000 rupees for loss of house belonging as announced by the POK government be implemented.
- All workers who lost their lives in the quake, their children or relatives be adjusted.
- Basic Labour laws should be introduced and labour courts be formed in Kashmir
- All workers in the state should be given the right to form trade unions.
- All anti-labour laws be scrapped including the Special Power Act
- End to privatization policies of down-sizing and right sizing etc.
Please send letters of protest to
Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan. Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir
President Musharraf of the Federal government of Pakistan CE@pak.gov.pk
Please send all solidarity messages to:
Employees Action Committee, c/o TURC-K