The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign (PTUDC) and Youth for International Socialism (YFIS) have launched a campaign against the ongoing suppression, terrorism, brutality and corruption of the Chairman of steel mills in Karachi and his administration. To this end the PTUDC, in collaboration with YFIS, organised demonstrations throughout Pakistan.
The following is a report of the demonstrations held in various cities.
PTUDC and YFIS Lahore organised a demo in front of the Lahore Press Club on November 7, 2003. The demonstration was led by comrade Manzoor Ahmed who is the president of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign and a member of the parliament. The General Secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Jahangir Bader, was also present.
Many trade union leaders, students, journalists and women participated in this demonstration. Addressing the demonstrators comrade Manzoor said that the PTUDC is a platform through which we organize the workers and fight not only against privatisation and downsizing, but also against the anti-labour laws and policies like IRO 2002, Removal from Services Ordinance and Labour Policies.
In Karachi the PTUDC and YFIS organised a demonstration in front of the Karachi Press Club. Many prominent trade unionists participated and led the demonstration from the front. The main speakers were Comrade Mohammad Khan Ahmadani, Comrade Karamat, Comrade Jannat, Comrade Ayub Quraishi, Comrade Tariq Watan Yaar, Comrade Jaan Paul, Comrade Naseem, and Comrade Nazeer.
Many workers from the Steel Mills also participated in the demonstration.
The speakers said that the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign would continue its fight against the brutal activities of the regime. They added that the PTUDC is organising workers and peasants against the policies of the IMF and World Bank. World capitalism is in deep recession and is attempting to crush workers in order to get out of their crisis. But it is impossible.
In Multan the PTUDC held a demonstration in front of the press club to show solidarity with the workers of the Pakistan Steel Mills. The participants raised slogans against the corruption of the steel mills' chairman, forced transfers and redundancies, privatization, deregulation, and the policies of the IMF and World Bank. In their speeches the protestors made a number of demands on the present regime. They said that the Steel mills' chairman should be arrested and put on trial, to answer for his massive corruption and anti labour activities. They said that the workers of the Steel mills should be given the right of trade union membership and other rights, which they deserve as workers of Karachi Steel.
Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign Hyderabad held a protest in Hyderabad in front of the Press Club. Comrades Pir Mohammad Sindhi, Jabbar Khan, Pershotam, Anwar Phanwar and Mangal Preetam, addressed the crowd. They explained that during the last six months sixty thousand steel workers had been removed from their jobs without any charge or show cause notice. This is brutal. Furthermore the administration of the Pakistan steel mills is now going to remove more workers from the steel mills. This activity should be stopped by now. The demonstrators made the following demands on the government.
1-The steel mills' chairman should be immediately arrested and put on trial.
2- All the workers who have been sacked during the chairmanship of the present chairman should immediately be reinstated with full salaries and benefits.
The demonstrators warned the regime that if their demands are not met, the PTUDC will start a national and international campaign for this cause.
The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign in Pindi organised a public meeting to express their solidarity with the workers of Pakistan steel mills. Banners were displayed all around the hall and a solidarity resolution was. The Member of Parliament Qamar uz Zaman Qaira was also present. He also fully supported the resolution. He added that he would fully support the cause of the Pakistan steel mill workers both outside and inside parliament.
The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign held a meeting in Baldiya Plaza in which they discussed the problems which are being faced by the workers in the Karachi steel mills. They unanimously passed a resolution in which they said that the steel mills' chairman is involved in massive corruption and he should be immediately removed from the chairmanship of the Pakistan steel mills. Furthermore, he should be immediately arrested and put on trial.
All the workers who have been sacked during the tenure of the present chairman should be reinstated. The steel mill workers should be provided with decent health facilities. Their children should be given free education in the schools of the steel mills.
The meeting also passed a resolution against the IRO2002 and Removal From Services Ordinance.
They warned the regime and the administration of the steel mill that if their demands are not met the PTUDC will start a national and international campaign and would fight to the end.