The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign is fully geared for massive May Day activities in more than 70 cities and towns in Pakistan.
A poster for May Day has already been published and pasted on the walls of major industrial units and working class districts across the country. A special issue of Mazdoor Nama (Worker’s News) has been published and will be sold in May Day rallies and public meetings across the country. Mazdoor Nama is the organ of PTUDC. It carries reports and news from the working class and its struggles which are usually not covered by the mainstream media.
The first issue of Mazdoor Nama in March was warmly welcomed by Labour unions and federations all over the country and they were eager to support this cause. The sensationalist headlines and debates in bourgeois media have nothing to report on the harsh realities of life and the exploitation of the working class. In this situation Mazdoor Nama is the only ray of hope for workers to extend solidarity and to develop their own media in order to disseminate their experiences to fellow workers in other sectors.
The current issue of Mazdoor Nama also contains a report on the plight of immigrant workers in Saudi Arabia and a recent strike of construction workers in Dubai. There are also reports on unsafe working conditions in Pakistan, a successful strike in Forward Sports (a manufacturer of footballs in Sialkot), of public meetings and protests of workers of WAPDA and SNGPL as well as solidarity messages from PTUDC. Furthermore there is an editorial highlighting current problems of workers in Pakistan and a showing that the only way out is for the workers to take power themselves.
Once again this year, May day takes place amid a terrible situation for the working class. Millions of children have to work hard every day for their survival and in order to support their families. Women are being exploited in unsafe and unhealthy working environments where they work long hours and where sexual harassment has become a regular occurrence. An eight hour working day has become a distant dream in a situation where it is normal to work 12 to 14 hours a day. At the same time, the public sector is rapidly being privatised by the ruling class, although the workers do resist these attacks.
This year May Day will be highlighted by the movement of WAPDA and SNGPL (power and gas companies) workers against privatisation. In many places PTUDC will be organizing activities jointly with the WAPDA Hydro union. At other places workers in Railways, Post Offices, Steel works, Sanitation, Hospitals, Food and Beverages industries - like Unilever, Coca Cola and Nestle- Chemical industries and other sectors will be co-hosting May Day activities with PTUDC. Thousands of leaflets on current issues have also been published in every place and will be distributed during our activities.
Among other things PTUDC posters put forward the slogan of raising the minimum wage to 10 grams of gold. This demand means raising the current official minimum wage four times (and actual wages five times.) We also raise demands to end privatization, unemployment and the casual contract system and for the introduction of permanent employment for all workers. All of this is tied to the slogan of the expropriation of all industry and the commanding heights of the economy under the democratic control of workers.