Public sector workers threaten to strike from 7 May if agreement with government not honoured
Employees Alliance Action committee organises Mayday rally in Rawalakot
International Workers Day was celebrated throughout Kashmir on both sides of the dividing line of control in Indian and Pakistani occupied territories.
In Pakistani occupied Kashmir members and supporters of the CWI and Trade Union Rights Campaign Kashmir (TURCK) participated in May Day programmes in four districts.
In Rawalakot, May Day rally was organised by the Poonch Division Employees Alliance Action Committee including many workers organisations. Members and supporters of the TURCK also participated. A colourful rally was taken out which marched through the city with red flags and banners of the Employees Alliance Action committee (EAC) and TURCK.
Workers raised slogans against capitalism, price hikes and the government for not issuing notifications for the agreement after the 6 February strike earlier this year. Slogans for implementation of labour laws and formation of labour courts and right to trade unions were raised too.
A public rally was organised at the local courts, where workers’ leaders from health, education, electricity, clerical works, judiciary and other departments addressed demonstrators.
During the rally, various speakers paid tribute to the martyrs of Chicago for their sacrifices and vowed to follow in their heroic steps for the rights of the oppressed and the working class. Speakers said that capitalism had failed to provide basic needs for the majority rather it has generated poverty, disease, hunger, wars and environmental degradation.
As a result of free market policies, the working class was fighting back all over the world and the Latin American masses were now in the forefront against these brutal offensives. A leader of the health workers said, "we are struggling to raise the consciousness of the workers and have begun the struggle against oppression, exploitation."
Referring to the recent public sector strike action he said, "these demands are only small and that we want to change this oppressive system for the betterment of the working class and the poor people of Kashmir".
Speakers criticised all the traditional political parties including the ruling Muslim Conference and PPP for not defending the interests and rights of the workers and added the need for a political party who would struggle for their class.
Workers leaders also demanded of the present Muslim Conference government to honour the agreement which the latter concluded on 16 February after negotiations with workers and issue notifications for the implementation of the agreement immediately. Otherwise workers have given another strike action call for 7 May. Members and supporters of TURCK will organise solidarity for the quake affected workers struggling for their democratic rights during the coming days.