Pakistan Telecom Employees Union Suspended - We Shall Fight, We Shall Win

The ruling class is planning to privatize the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Ltd. (PTCL). Thousands of workers will be thrown out without any notice or benefits from this institution. To achieve this goal the regime has announced a referendum. They tried their best to use their pocket union to win the referendum, but the workers of PTCL revolted against these policies through a ballot and the Pakistan Telecom Employees Union won the referendum due to their radical program.

The policies of the ruling class based on privatization, downsizing, and restructuring has made life hell for the working class. On the one hand the rulers are throwing the workers into the quagmire of joblessness and poverty and on the other hand they are involved in massive corruption and looting. The ruling class of Pakistan has privatized the Allied Bank of Pakistan, United Bank Ltd., the Muslim Commercial Bank, and Pak-Saudi fertilizers at nominal prices and thousands of workers have lost their jobs due to this crime of ruling class.

Attack on PTCL/Interference in PTCL

In a continuation of this looting and plundering, they are planning to privatize the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Ltd. (PTCL). As a result, thousands of workers will lose their jobs and will be thrown out without any notice or benefits from this institution. To achieve this goal the regime has announced a referendum in PTCL. They tried their best to use their pocket union to win the referendum, which should have made the job easy for them. But the workers of PTCL revolted against these pro-imperialist policies through a ballot and the Pakistan Telecom Employees Union won the referendum due to their radical program.

Submission of Charter of Demand

Immediately after obtaining the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agent) certificate the PTEU submitted a Charter of Demand asking the administration to announce company scales immediately and with effect from 01.01.1996 keeping in view the salaries of other good companies, day to day inflation and earnings of the organization, and considering the following points:

i) Gap between lowest and highest may be minimized.

ii) Minimum initial pay should be Rs. 15, OOO/-

iii) Pension & Gratuity rates may be revised. 

Main Demands of the Elected Union

The PTEU also demanded for Provision of Bonus according to Section 10 of Standing order 1968 PTCL on a quarterly basis, as in many other companies (four times in a financial year) with effect from 1996, as well as reward money, or rather that reward money may also be granted to widows and retired employees. They also called for the following: Revision/Creation of Various Allowances, Higher Qualification Pay, Education Grant, Special Allowance for Balochistan, Medical Policy for Students, Un-employed and Disabled, daily wages, second wives stepfather/mother, son daughter of PTCL employees, Enhancement of House Requisition Rate, Regularization of Temporary/Daily Wages /Work Charges /T.F. Employees, Free Service Telephone Connection to all employees, Opportunity to serve in Child/Sister Organizations, Demands for /Allowances/Grants/Charges-Loans and Advances.  Advance Salaries, Marriage Grants, Special Compensation on Employee’s death during Service, Benevolent Fund & Group Insurance, Transfer of ownership of Residential quarters to the allottees-in-possession on hire-purchase basis, Fair-price Shop & Canteens, Representation of the CBA on the PTCL Board of Directors, Provision of Tools, Joining Materials and Replacement of Worn-out Cables, Transport Facilities, Provision of Ambulance, Promotion Policy, Provision of Training, Employees Dependent quota in Recruitment Rules, Exemption of Tax on Allowances, Telecom Foundation, PTCL Land-Plotting and Allotment to Employees, Re-operative of Frozen Posts, Implementation of Package 1998-2000, Permanent Security Staff, Re-Instatement of Terminated Employees, Up-grading.

Stay Order against PTEU CBA

As the administration and the ruling elite saw all of their efforts towards the privatization of PTCL in danger they immediately launched a fraudulent appeal using their pocket union to take a plea of a Non Issue and obtained a stay order from the court against PTEU. The court ordered that the CBA would not be dealt with as a CBA until the National Industrial Relations Commission reached its decision.

Suspension of Union

While the leadership of the PTEU was struggling to get relief from the NIRC the administration took advantage of this and suspended the union by saying that while the referendum was held in PTCL the NIRC chairmen’s seat was vacant – hence the referendum could not have any legal status.

It must be pointed out that the same referendum has been held in many other institutions in the very same situation and the elected unions there are playing the role of CBA’s.

Harassing the workers

Now on the one hand the elected union has been suspended and the administration is pressurizing the leadership of the union to bow before the administration. The leadership has contacted the relevant minister but he refused to meet with the General Secretary and asked him to meet one of his stooges who is not an employee or relevant person to the issue. In the department the regime is spreading rumors that the leaders of the union have taken the bribe and that they will shortly surrender.

Message of the General Secretary

The General Secretary of the Pakistan Telecom Employees Union Rana Mohammad Tahir said that 18 000 votes of the workers have been polled in our favor. The objective of this huge vote bank is that we should fight for the rights of the workers and save the department from privatization, restructuring, down sizing and other imperialist polices.

We have started our fight and will now fight until the final victory. The trade unions and the workers of the world should join hands with us. We need their support, solidarity and encouragement.