|Workers’ death in Karachi and Lahore: Condolence references and protest rallies by PTUDC|
|Written by PTUDC (Central Secretariat)|
|Friday, 21 September 2012 11:11|
Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign is organizing condolence references and protests in various cities of Pakistan to condemn this barbarity which happened due to decaying capitalist system in Pakistan.
In Lahore a condolence reference was organized for more than 300 workers who lost their lives in factory fires in Karachi and Lahore. The meeting was held in Lahore Press Club. The reference was attended by the International Secretary PTUDC Dr. Lal Khan, Central General Secretary Railways Labour
Union Sarfaraz, Central President from Pakistan Telecommunications Company union Sabir Butt, Secretary General EMCO industries Labour Union Yusaf Awan, Amanullah from Rustam Towel industry, Press Secretary of Young Doctors Association Punjab Dr. Aftab, Rashid Khalid from Progressive Students Alliance and Javed Khokhar from Sher e Bengal Labour Colony. Adam Pal was the stage secretary.
Dr. Tahir Shabbir recited a revolutionary poem at the start of program. After that one minute silence was observed for the victims of this tragedy.
The speakers said that there are no laws in Pakistan for the protection of workers and the workers in the factories are brutally oppressed and their lives are worse than that of animals. The factory owners openly violate the few regulations that exist on papers. The minimum wage set by the government is already very low but factory owner pay much less than even that paltry amount. Official minimum wage of eight thousand rupees is paid nowhere and in most factories the workers are forced to work for wages less than three to four thousands rupees a month. If there are two hundred registered workers in a factory then in reality there are two thousand people working there and thanks to the system of contract labour, no record is kept about the workers. 99% workers don’t have any kind of social security and old age benefit because the condition for it is to have a permanent job in factory and permanent jobs are very rare these days as most of the workers are hired on contracts or on daily wages which is covered by no law or regulation. Unions don’t exist in most of the industrial sector which is encouraged by the rulers. There is no justice for the workers in labour courts. The workers cannot afford to go to the labour courts and if they manage to do so the cases prolong for several years and usually the decisions are always in the favour of capitalists and factory owners. Life of the worker has been made hell by this system. But no one is addressing this reality even after such a harrowing tragedy and every party and leader is accusing their opponents for this. All those who pretend to sympathize with the workers on the media are responsible for this atrocity. PTUDC demands an immediate abolishment of anti workers laws and policies like privatization and enforcement of labour laws. Those responsible for the murder of more than 300 workers should be publicly hanged.
Comrade Amanullah said that no factory owner is following standard procedures for safety measure. In Karachi where the fire killed three hundred workers in a garment factory there were no Fire exits or alarms. Workers were working like slaves in a basement with all the doors and windows locked. At the time of incident there was only one door for exit and the owners ordered to get the finished products out first before the workers.
There were also women and children working at that time for whom that factory became a gas chamber and many of them died. Some eye witness said that some pregnant women also died in the incident. To add insult to this injury it came to our knowledge that this factory was insured while there was no insurance of any worker, even they were not registered in any section of the factory. No one even knew the names and addresses of those workers as they were working through a contractor.
Javed khokhar said that condition of implementation of labour laws is same every where in whole country and this ruling class is indifferent to plight of workers.
Sabir Butt said that workers are on the receiving end in this country. He condemned the rulers for their attacks on working class. He said that in 2005 there were 72,000 workers in PTCL while today there are around 20,000. Management is still trying to sack thousands more.
Dr. Aftab from YDA said that many young doctors also face hazardous working conditions in government hospitals. Many get hepatitis, TB and other diseases while working. Similar situation is faced by Nurses and other hospital staff. He said YDA is struggling to get better health facilities for people of Pakistan but these rulers have used every tactic to stop them. False cases of killing patients have been made on doctors struggling for their rights while many were tortured and put behind bars. He said only way out for working class today is through socialism.
Srfraz a labour leader from Railways condemn the ruling class of Pakistan which is exploiting workers for last 65 years. He said that creation of this country was a crime and we are suffering its punishment till today. He said that workers are railways are fighting against this capitalist system and they will stand with revolutionary forces in a mass upsurge. He said that all bomb blasts happen in localities of poor people while elite housing societies never experience such horrors. He said that why suicide bombers can’t see palaces in Raiwind and other places to blow these rulers away.
In the end Dr. Lal Khan spoke on this topic and said that all laws and constitutions are meaning less for workers in this system of exploitation. He said that profits in capitalism come by exploitation of working class. This system is based on inequality and unless we overthrow it through a socialist revolution we can not get a better living for working class.
A meeting was held on 14 September at SITE industrial area in Karachi in the aftermath of tragedy in which more than 300 workers died in factory fire. Meeting was chaired by president of SITE Labour Forum Khasta Rehman. He is also president of labour union in Coca Cola Karachi. He proposed the agenda to start struggle for the legal rights of workers killed in this tragedy. In this meeting a committee was formed which will take care of the legal proceedings of the case of killed workers. Bakht Zaman who work in a pharmaceutical firm was made in charge of this committee.
Unanimous decision was made to hoist banners in front of all factories in SITE industrial area in protest over these killings. A leaflet will also be distributed to all workers. A committee was formed for this purpose. A fund was formed immediately in which 10,000 rupees were collected at the spot. Comrade Janat Husain of PTUDC also addressed this meeting and said that workers will themselves have to fight for their rights. He said that according to government sources there were 268 workers in this factory but at the time of incident it came to knowledge that 3000 people worked there. He said that PTUDC will always fight for the workers cause and will take the message of this meeting to all the workers of Pakistan and other countries.
Others who attended this meeting included Ameer Ali, Raja Tauqeer Ahmed, Dildar Hussain from Kohe noor soap factory, Abdur Razaq Kachoo from Dadex pipes,Safeer Mughal Secretary general Coca Cola union and labour leader Gul Rehman.
Meeting in Landhi industrial area of Karachi was also held on this issue by PTUDC, while public meetings at other industrial areas are planned in coming days.
A protest rally was held in Quetta by PTUDC and Balochistan Workers Federation to condemn this tragedy. Workers from Merck, Water and Sewrage Authority, Post Office, Teachers, hospital workers and others attended this protest.
Rally started from Merck factory and passing from various roads ended at press club. Nazar Mengal from PTUDC, Hasan Baloch from Balochistan Workers Federation, Manzoor Baloch from Merck, Abdul hakeem from WASA and Shakir Hussain from post office union addressed the rally and condemned the capitalists and ruling class of Pakistan.
A protest rally was held in Hyderabad. Rally started from hyder crossing and ended at Press club. Labor leaders Paras Jan,Peer Muhammad Sindhi, Jay Parkash, Esar Das, Nisar Chandio, Aziz Ahmed Khoso from Railways, Khalid Chang from APCA, Ramesh from Hydro union WAPDA, Dr. Vinod, Ejaz Bhagio, Hanif Musrani and other attended the rally.
Labour Leaders addressed the rally and demanded that all responsible for this tragedy should be hanged.
A meeting was held to condole the death of 300 workers. Central leader of Habib Bank union Munawar Asim Bhatti, Central Vice President APNEC Dr. Umar Naseer, Secretary General YDA Gujranwala Dr. Umar Rathore, Vice President People Labour Bureau Punjab Javed Iqbal Anjum, Aslam from WASA, Mohsin Butt, Sibghat ullah and other people attended the meeting and spoke at the occassion. Comrade Ali Baig chaired the meeting. Imran Hashmi recited a poem for workers at the start of meeting while a one minute silence was also observed.
Comrade Adam Pal from PTUDC addressed the meeting and said that this act of barbarism is not the last. If this system is not overthrown then many such events will occur in coming period because whole infra structure is collapsing due to decay of capitalist system.
A resolution was unanimously passed that all factories in Gujranwala should be immediately inspected for safety measures and minimum wage implementation. Also trade unions in every factory should be consulted by Labour department for enquiries regarding safety measures.
Protest were held in Dadu, Johi and many other cities of Pakistan while public meetings are planned in Faislabad, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Multan and many other places in coming days.
A rally from Municipal Park to Press Club was organized by PTUDC. Rally converted into a procession in front of the press club. Comrade Anwar Panwar, comrade Morial Panwar, Zameer Korejo (Gen. Secretary Hydro Central Labour Union), comrade Aijaz Baghio (Organizer Unemployed Youth Movement) and various other labour leaders addressed the participants.
Speakers said that the tragic incident was a proof of brutality of capitalist system. Capitalism and its protector Pakistani State along with greedy owners were responsible for the death of more than 300 workers. Incidents like this would be happening continuously until and unless workers take control of factories and all other institutions overthrowing capitalism.
The Struggle continues!