Pakistan: Protest by Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) workers against forced dismissals

Thursday, 02 July 2009
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Workers at the Pak Arab Refinery have been summarily dismissed. The PTUDC has intervend to organise the workers and organise the fightback.

Protest by Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) workers against forced dismissalsA protest meeting was held in front of Multan Press Club organized by the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign’s Southern Punjab chapter and the employees of the Pak Arab Oil Refinery [PARCO]. The meeting was held to record protest against the anti-labour attitude and practices of the factory owners and the management. After the meeting a demonstration was also held in front of the press club. It was attended by labour, intelligentsia and comrades of the PTUDC.

The owners of PARCO and their stooges in the management had sacked 29 workers without any reason. It is to be noted that these hardworking, honest people had been working in the factory for more than 18 years and they have contributed with their blood and sweat to the development of the factory.

The factory is situated in the small town of Gujrat and is one of the largest industrial establishments in South Punjab. Due to the hard work and dedication of the workers, PARCO is the biggest profit generating industrial enterprise in Pakistan. The wealth generated by the hard work of the workers, is being utilized by the owners and management to fund their decadent and obscenely extravagant lifestyle. The workers who run this factory are being greatly exploited. Their benefits are being taken away. With the high inflation and cuts, the life of a factory worker has become a living hell. It has become impossible for the workers to support their families. The workers who have been sacked by the management have been literally deprived of their livelihood.

Protest by Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) workers against forced dismissals

What is ironic is that these workers went to the Multan Labour Court against the unfair dismissal. The court decided in favour of these workers and ordered the management to reinstate the workers immediately. But the management refused to obey the court order. When the workers went to the factory with their court orders they were harassed and threatened and beaten by the gangsters of the management and the security guards. Some of the workers were forced to sign blank documents by these rough elements. This is happening while at the same time a section of the so-called liberal bourgeois is beating the drums of “rule of law” and the “ restoration of the judiciary”. The illusion of a free judiciary and rule of law have been exposed in the eyes of the workers who can see for themselves how much importance the bourgeois really give to the courts when these decide against their interests.

Protest by Pak Arab Refinery (PARCO) workers against forced dismissalsAgainst this blatant injustice the comrades of the PTUDC organized the workers in the factory and the result was this protest meeting and demonstration. It was decided that the battle will continue for labour rights and will be connected with the struggle for a genuine socialist revolution in the whole of the subcontinent.

The meeting was attended by Mr Ghulam Reza, President Mazdoor Insaaf Union PARCO, comrade Ali Akbar, Chairman PTUDC Southern Punjab, Mr Wahabuddin Khan, General Secretary Mazdoor Insaaf Union PARCO, comrade Tahir Khan Khakwani, President PTUDC Southern Punjab, comrade Jam Sajjad, General Secretary PTUDC Southern Punjab, and comrade Nadeem Pasha, advocate regional organizer BNT.