The PTUDC in Britain organised a speaking tour throughout January. The tour was designed to build the profile of the campaign in this country, to establish points of support in the labour movement, and to collect financial donations for the campaign. The tour involved meetings and discussions with leading figures and bodies of the labour movement, meetings with individual trade union branches, and regional public meetings to attract broader layers of workers and establish support in Britain's Asian communities. Lal Khan, PTUDC International Secretary, and Manzoor Ahmed, the recently elected Marxist PPP MP, spoke at many trade union meetings around the country.
The PTUDC (Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign) in Britain organised a very successful speaking tour throughout January. The tour was designed to build the profile of the campaign in this country, to establish points of support in the labour movement, and to collect financial donations for the campaign. The tour involved meetings and discussions with leading figures and bodies of the labour movement, meetings with individual trade union branches, and regional public meetings to attract broader layers of workers and establish support in Britain's Asian communities.
Lal Khan, PTUDC International Secretary, travelled to Britain at the beginning of January for a short tour of some of Britain's leading unions, including the TGWU International office, and GMB General Secretary, John Edmonds. Both of these unions are keen to help with the campaign, they agreed to sponsor the PTUDC, requested further information on trade union struggles in Pakistan, and invited comrades along for further meetings in the next few months.
Lal Khan told the union leaders about the terrible working and living conditions which exist on the Indian Sub Continent, the attacks by the bosses, the imperialists and the military state. One of the main problems that Pakistan, like many former colonial countries, faces is the uneven nature of development of the infrastructure. Which means that you have an anomalous situation where the most modern technology coexists side by side with technology that has not changed for thousands of years.
Lal Khan also met with the General Secretary and national officers of banking and financial services union UNIFI, who organise a large chunk of the British finance industry, including Pakistani banks with offices in England. General Secretary Ed Sweeney was very enthusiastic and made a lot of useful suggestions of avenues the campaign could pursue in the future.
Among the most supportive of the trade unionists we have met has been Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, and long time supporter of the PTUDC, Lal Khan was able to meet with Jeremy for a discussion, and he spoke at various NUJ branch meetings which were very keen to give financial assistance and build links with the campaign, one of the branches actually put it on their agenda to discuss providing the money to sponsor a full time organiser for the PTUDC at their next meeting.
The campaign in Britain then continued with a tour by Manzoor Ahmed, the recently elected Marxist PPP MP. Manzoor spoke at a number of very important public meetings, which were attended by some leading union activists. He spoke in an Edinburgh meeting of trade unionists and youth, on the everyday problems which trade unions face in Pakistan, and got an excellent response. Many of the comrades offered to raise the question of affiliation in their union branches. At the London meeting on January 24, there was a very enthusiastic mood. This was shown clearly in the collection which raised nearly £700. The general mood of all the meetings was that the struggles in Pakistan are the same struggles as we are facing over here although on a much more horrific level.
Among others Manzoor also met with the NUM General Secretary and national officers, with leading trade unionists from the ASLEF NEC, with the General Secretary, T&G (National Secretary agriculture & Ellesmere Port motor vehicles branch), NUT General Secretary (school teachers), NATFHE Conference (university teachers) and spoke at several public meetings as well.