A three-day strike by workers of the Forward Gear in Sialkot, Punjab has ended in victory as they have won their demands. The workers have won around 15% increment in their salaries, all sacked workers reinstated, and management has accepted their union Forward Gear Workers’ Union CBA as the true representative of workers in the company. During the three days of the strike hundreds of workers took part and achieved a total work stoppage. This is an important victory for workers in the Pakistani trade union movement and important lessons can be drawn from it.
While the masses have been toiling and trying their utmost to come to terms with heat, dust, humidity, unrelenting power outages, price hikes, poverty etc., the elite has been busy hurling accusations and counter allegations against each other in a theatre of the absurd. This has become almost a summer ritual which takes place every year.
The mass deaths of more than a thousand in Karachi and other regions by the sweltering heat wave have once again brought to the fore the catastrophic state of infrastructure which exists in Pakistan. The agonising dearth of electricity supplied to society in a country where the power production capacity is more than the consumption needs is a gruesome tragedy caused mainly by power cuts. It is the work of corporate power barons plundering the people's wealth and not producing electricity in order to enhance their rate of profit. Their callous and brutal character nakedly stands exposed. It is treason against more than 200 million people. The political leaders and the strongmen of this belligerent state are accomplices in this vicious act of devouring human lives for the sake of perks and profits.
With 78% of the population living below the poverty line, 66% facing food insecurity, almost 100 million without access to safe water and just under 94 million without access to adequate sanitation, for most sensible people, Pakistan’s 2015-16 budget should present a huge problem for leaders of the country.
The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign is fully geared for massive May Day activities in more than 70 cities and towns in Pakistan.
There was a great pomp and show. There was a din of “eternal Pakistan-China friendship” broadcast from every media channel and newspaper incessantly for almost two days. A Chinese head of state was paying a desperately awaited visit to Pakistan for the first time in many years.
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