|Workers in unity at All Pakistan Labour Conference|
|Written by Anti Labor Laws Workers Action Committee|
|Wednesday, 10 January 2007 00:00|
The All-Pakistan Labour
Conference was held in Rawalpindi on December
19, 2006, bringing together some 500 delegates from unions and workers'
associations from all across Pakistan.
The goal of the conference was to unite the working class under one banner and
to offer a solution to the problems and misery of the people in the struggle
This is a class war!
We will fight! We will win!
On December 19, the All-Pakistan Labour Conference was held at the Press Club in Rawalpindi in order to unite all the workers struggling separately in different industries and unions into one platform. The conference was organized under the banner of the Anti-Labour Laws Workers' Action Committee. More than 63 trade unions, workers' associations and federations participated with nearly 500 delegates and trade union leaders. Comrade Manzoor Ahmed, president of the PTUDC and Member of National Assembly chaired the Conference.
In his address Manzoor Ahmed said that after so many attacks by the government on the rights of workers in Pakistan, that the workers are left with only two options, either to die helplessly or die while struggling against this brutality. If one has to choose, then it is best to die fighting with courage and dignity. History tells us that only those who fight for their cause are victorious. Whenever the working class has come onto the stage of history united as a class, they have defeated all their opponents. The victory in 1917 in Russia was the victory of working class.
Similarly in 1968-69 the working class of Pakistan also led a heroic struggle against the brutal capitalist system and the ruling class. After a long pause, the struggle of the PTCL workers last year against privatization marked the beginning of a new era of struggle and mobilizations. The state was on its knees, but once again the trade union leadership betrayed the movement and this victory was transformed into a retreat. If the PTCL workers had switched off their exchanges all communication in the country, including air traffic control, railway and military communications would have collapsed - including as well television broadcasts.
But this would have only been possible if the movement of the PTCL workers had been able to gather support outside of the company, for example from WAPDA, the railways and other industries. If the WAPDA and railway workers had also gone on strike then this movement could have reached unprecedented proportions but the leadership of these workers betrayed the cause of the rank and file.
Manzoor also explained that in Pakistan some 200,000 people control approximately 80 percent of the wealth of the country, which shows the unprecedented accumulation and concentration of wealth which has taken place over the last 7 years. On the other hand 4.5 billion rupees have been slashed from the workers welfare fund. He said that all this misery is due to this capitalist system which allows these capitalists and feudal elements to exploit the working class. We can only end our misery and suffering by overthrowing the system itself. The only system that can guarantee a society which is free from exploitation is socialism.
Sheikh Majeed, general secretary of the People's Labour Bureau-Karachi, while addressing the conference, said that the names of 12 workers and trade union leaders from Karachi were being proposed to run in the next election for the Pakistan People's Party. He argued that the PPP should allow these workers to stand in the elections instead of industrialists and capitalists. He said along with contesting elections workers' leaders should struggle for a permanent solution to their problems, which lies only in the struggle for socialism. He said that working class of Pakistan has matured over the years and that it will now not be so easy to betray it.
Fauzia Shahid, the former vice president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists also addressed the conference. She said that the anti-labor laws were a fetter for the working class and that the working class had to break free from them. She said socialism had to be discussed openly amongst the workers, and that there was nothing hindering the discussion.
Malik Sher Ahmed, president of People's Labour Bureau (Rawalpindi Division), said in his speech that the amendments presented by Comrade Manzoor in parliament to the Idustrial Relations Ordinance 2002 and other anti-labour laws have been accepted by the party leadership. The PPP is now bound to honour these amendments when it comes to power.
Fareed Awan, General Secretary of All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation said that the brutalities of the ruling class cannot continue forever as the All-Pakistan Labour Conference reflects the changing mood of the working class.
The leader of the Punjab Road and Transport Workers, Babu Idrees, said that when workers come out onto the streets, then the generals and capitalists would find themselves unable to rule. He explained that the workers should call for a general strike to end the tyranny of the capitalists.
Shaukat Satti conveyed the message of Latif Qureshi, president of PTCL Unity, in which he endorsed all the decisions made at the conference. He also said that he hoped that the PPP would re-nationalize the PTCL after coming to power.
Sajid Lodhi said that the army, which lives parasitically on the blood of the working class of Pakistan, was killing innocent civilians in Balouchistan. Ali Mardan, General Secretary of the workers at the Attock Oil Refinery said that the conference was not being held to list the problems of the working class, but to find a solution to them, which can only be found in the struggle for socialism.The leader of the PTCL workers, Malik Maqbool, said that the movement at the PTCL was a golden opportunity for the workers of Pakistan, which unfortunately was lost. CR Shamsi, the former general secretary of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, said that the peasants should also be included in our movement and explained that the conference represented the dawn of a new era. Raheel Iqbal from the anti-privatization commission in Karachi said that the working class never believed in the division of people based on ethnicity or language. The generals have killed many heroes of the working class, including Hasan Nasir, Nazir Abbasi and Bhutto but now thousands of such heroes will emerge and end the rule of capital. Other trade Union leaders also addressed the conference and vowed to work for a united struggle of the working class.
Joint declaration of All-Pakistan Labour Conference
1. The Labour Conference declares the present government as the agent of the imperialist powers and condemns the policies of the WTO and other international monetary institutions and the anti-labour policies of privatization, deregulation, standardization, the banning of trade unions, the destruction of the rights of peasants and workers, downsizing, rightsizing and the golden handshake. We think that the present government has become a security risk to the workers, therefore a provisional government should be formed by representatives of the working class.
2. This Labor Conference condemns the privatization of important and sensitive industries and departments. The rulers of this country, following the dictates of the IMF and the World Bank has privatized and sold KESC, PTCL, Steel Mills, the banks and other monetary institutions to multinational companies and imperialist powers. We declare that we will wage war at every level against privatization.
3. This Conference condemns Industrial Relations Ordinance 2002, 27B, MOD, the Finance Bill 2006 and amendments to labour laws and vows to launch a united struggle against these draconian laws.
4. This conference, representing the workers of the country, condemns the ban on trade unions at PIA, the railways, at Pakistan Steel Mills, the banks and other departments. We also vow to struggle for the establishment of real trade unions in the private sector instead of pocket unions.
5. This Conference condemns the fraudulent use of the workers' welfare fund of billions of rupees. Most of the workers could not registered themselves for the EOBI and social security therefore they are unable to get any advantage from these concessions due to corruption in these institutions. We declare that we will struggle against this in parliament and every other level.
6. This conference declares that we will expand the scope of our struggle to the peasants, kiln workers, students, as well as service sector workers and other oppressed layers of workers.
7. This conference of workers declares its continued support for the smaller and alienated labor movements and organizations in the country.
8. This conference commits itself to forming a joint-action committee in which representatives from all four provinces, northern areas and Azad Kashmir will be present. This will be organized on a divisional and district level and for this purpose all labor federations, trade unions and associations will be accepted as members.
9. This Labor Conference demands that the amendments and bills presented by Ch. Manzoor Ahmed in parliament be made a part of the Constitution. This Conference condemns the ban on trade unions at the Printing Corporation of Pakistan Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, the railways and the Karachi shipyard.
10. This conference condemns the corruption and plundering taking place in privatized institutions and demands that these matters be investigated by a committee of workers' representatives.
Names of delegates to the Conference and their Department
Ghulam Hussain, Munir Ahmed, Muhammad Safdar Kayani, Parvez Khan, Ali Mardan, and Mukhtar Hussain from the Attock Oil Refinery Employees Union
Muhammad Akram Banda from Pakistan Television
Shahbaz Ali from WAPD Scarp Irrigation, Khairpur Sindh
Muhaamad Dawood of the Postal Employees Union NOPE (CBA)
Attock Kalim Khan, Nasir Khan, Faisal Salem from Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd.(OGDCL)
Tariq Chahudary of the Capital Development Authority CDA Islamabad
Babar Iqbal from the Para Medical Association, Azad Kashmir
Farhan, Fozia Shahid, Syed Irshad from the PFUJ (Journalists Union)
Naseer, Imtiaz, Rana Qaisar Ijaz, Azeem Khan, Sabir Ali, adil Shah, Muhammad Waseem and Irshad from the WAPDA Hydro Electric Central Labour Union
Babu Idrees from Lakson Tobbaco Company, Mandra
Muhammad Afzal, Sajid Lodhi, Malik Bashir ahmed Khan, Mukhtar Ali Makhfi from the People's Labour Bureau
Muhammad Hussain, Shaukat Ali Bhatti, Khalid Mehmood from the United Bank Ltd. union, Islamabad
Mirza Abdul Hafeez from Coca Cola, Islamabad
Zulfiqar Ali, from the Shark Association Tala Gang
Ishrat Ali Zaidi from the Fauji Foundation
Mandal from the Sindh Hari Committee
Zulfiqar Ali, Sabahat Ullah from the All-Pakistan Road Workers' Union, Lahore
Farooq Ahmed, Raja Saeed from the PC Hotel, Rawalpindi
Syed Manzoor, Manzoor Ahmed, Wazir Shaheen from All-Pakistan Clerks' Association, APCA
Mian Abdul Qayyum from the Pakistan Textile Workers' Union, Faisalabad\
Muhammad Rahim Khan, Abid Shah, from the APCA, Azad Kashmir
Muhammad Zahoor, Hamid Mehmood, Muhammad Saleem Fon from the Gas Workers' Union
Daulat Ali, Rafiq, Faiz Ahmed, Zahid, Ishtiaq, Ghulam Fatima and Zohra from the All-Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union
Aman Ullah of the CDA, Rawalpindi
Margala, of the Textile Mills Workers' Union, CBA
Attock Saeed, Jamil ur Rehman, Imran Khursheed from the Non Gazetted Association, Azad Kashmir
Shafiq Anjum, from the Workman's Association Pakistan Ordinance Factory
Rasid Naeem, from the Teachers Organisation, Azad Kashmir
Nazar Shah Murre, of the Brewery Workers' Union
Raja Qayyum, Parvez Chadda, from TMA, Rawalpindi
Hameed Akhtar, from TMA United Labour Union
Aziz Ahmed Khan, Wasim ur Rehman, Nasim Adil, Ahsan Elahi, Rahat Munir, Javed Akhtar, Munir Ahmed Sajid Kalim, Khalid Qureshi, Wasim Nazir, Ashfaq Ullah, Tahir Rasheed, Khalil Ahmed, Qaisar Shirazi from the Rawalpindi Union of Journalists
Siraj Gul Khattak, Shah Khalid, Khan Afsar from Mazdoor Union (CBA) Hasan Abdal
Muhammad Safdar from Mazdoor Union Lawrence poor Mills
Shekh Majeed from PIA Peoples' Unity, Karachi
Tariq Butt, Abdul Qadeer, Muhammad Afzal from PSI Labour Union Lahore
Lakh meer Mehar from the Mari Gas Mazdoor Union
Rasul Bux, Zulfiqar Haider from the Peoples' Labour Union, Karachi Port
Qasim Muhammad Shafiq, Muhammad Hameed, Abdul Jabbar, Raja Parvez Akhtar, Saeed Abbasi from the Allied Bank Union
Ch. Muhammad Farooq, Ijaz Abbasi, Ghulam Asghar from the Bank of Punjab Union
Manzoor Razi, Muhammad Rafiq of the Railway Union
Afraz Shaheed Maqsood Ahmed, from the Printing Press Workers' Union
Mohsin Shah, from the All-Pakistan Para Medical Association
Ali Nawaz Bhutto, of the Engro Chemical Union
Amraz Karachi, of KTC
Dr. Ijaz Ahmed, Muhammad Altaf Khan, Aziz Ahmed Press Club Fateh Jung
Sardar Abdul Farooq of Workers Union
Muhammad Salim Shah, Para Medical Staff, Bannu
Ghulam Jilani Akhtar, Muhammad Waheed, of the PFUJ, Tala Gang
Ali Akbar, of the PTCL Employees Union, Kot Addu
Sardar Yaqoob Khan,Muhammad Rafiq of the Labour Bureau, Azad Kashmir
Mirza Maqssod, of PEWU Karachi
Nazir, from News Mart, Rawalpindi
Zain ul Abideen, of Supply Win Association
CR Shamsi Abid Abbasi, of the PFUJ
Salim Mumtaz, from the APP Union
Zafar, from the National Bank of Pakistan
Resolution passed at the Conference
1. This Conference demands that action should be taken immediately on the 19 point agreement between Mari Gas Company and workers. This agreement was made in 2003 but still no action has been taken.
2. The peasants in Sindh are facing harsh conditions as the price of cotton continues to decline. A drought has aggravated the situation. This conference demands that the loans of agricultural workers up to Rs.200, 000 should be waived. Also interest on all loans should be waived.
3. 400 workers were expelled from the Pearl Continental Hotel. Their jobs, positions, and wages should be restored.
4. This conference demands the implementation of the Seventh Wage Board Award in all newspapers and news agencies. This conference also demands an end to contract labour and the construction of the Eighth Wage Board Award.
This conference condemns the dismissal of office bearers of the Punjab Bank union, Malik Asghar Kahot and Ch. Muhammad Farooq and demands the restoration of their jobs and positions.
Solidarity messages to the ConferenceBelow we publish some international solidarity messages addressed to the conference.
We wish you all the best for the All-Pakistan Labour Conference. Your magnificent work under the most difficult conditions has always been an inspiration for the international labour movement. Your struggle against privatisation, for the rights of the working class, against repression, against any forms of oppression are an example for all of us. You teach the international labour movement the real meaning of solidarity and internationalism. We hope that this conference will be a further step forward in the building of a strong workers' movement in Pakistan!
Keep the red flag flying!
Axel Magnus, shop steward
Lis Mandl, shop steward
Thomas Landerl, shop steward
Josef Falkinger, union activist
|< Prev||Next >|
The Struggle continues!