Workers of Pakistan: Hospitals in Islamabad Protest against privatization

The workers of federal hospital are protesting against the new service structure (CHPS) which is a form of privatization. The hospitals include Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences PIMS, Poly Clinic Hospital and National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine.

CHPS is instituted by a presidential ordinance and will abolish the gratuity, pension and other privileges of the workers. The legislation in the national assembly to pass this bill will result in sacking of numerous paramedical and other staff in the form of downsizing. The bill includes taking away the civil servants rights and turning these hospitals into autonomous institutions under a private board. The cost of health facilities will rise as a result of this. The hiring in these hospitals is done on open merit by the public service commission tests and interviews giving everyone an equal opportunity. The new service structure would open doors for corruption and hiring of the favourite by the back door. Millions of poor people are treated in these hospitals especially in PIMS every year that will be deprived of this facility. General Secretary of the nursing association Sadia Bashir said that nurses were the backbone of the hospital and the bill on one hand would deprive millions of the free health facilities and on the other 7000 workers of these hospitals would lose their jobs in this difficult economic situation. She said that the members of the nursing association were united and they would fight till the end to stop the privatization of hospitals.

A Joint Action Committee was formed representing workers from all three hospitals and a token strike of 2 hours a day was started. Paramedical staff, clerks, sanitary workers, technicians and other workers participated in the strike. On 30th January the Joint Action Committee decided that workers from all three hospitals would stage a sit in at Kalsoom square in the Blue Area of Islamabad till their demands are met. ON 31st January the sit in began and the workers felt their strength when trade union activists from numerous unions and federations visited the camp in solidarity. At 2 am in the morning the police started to intimidate the protestors and threatened them with arrests and torture in case the sit in was not ended. The Joint Action Committee decided to go on complete strike with only the emergency and the I.C.U working. The ongoing complete strike will continue till all the demands are met. The workers expressed their gratitude for Pakistan Trade Union defence Campaign and other unions and federations who have come to express their solidarity.

Gen. Sec. CDA mazdoor union Chaudry Yasin, President Aurangzeb Khan, Genral secretary Newspaper vendor union Tikka Khan, senior vice president APCA Shahzad Kayani, Chaudry Nadim from Sports Board union, Genral secretary Pakistan Workers Federation Zahoor Awan, officials from PWD union Islamabad, Deputy General secretary Pakistan Workers Federation Rawalpindi Akarm Bunda, Chairman WAPDA Hydro Union Rawalpindi Malik Fateh Khan, BNT North Punjab Organizer Comrade Awais Qarni, comrade Kashif Rashid from JKNSF, comrade Masood Hanif, comrade Hina Zain, comrade Farhad Kayani, comrade Zafarullah and Dr. Changez Malik North Punjab Regional Organizer PTUDC participated in the protest and expressed their solidarity.

Appeal: All Workers to show solidarity and class unity with the federal hospitals workers in their protest.

An injury to one is an injury to all!