The Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign PTUDC along with the Labour Action Committee, the MRDW Unilever (Movement for the Restoration of Dismissed Workers), the Unilever Workers’ Action Committee and the Unilever Revolutionary Workers’ Union organised a rally from Railway Square to the gate of the Unilever factory in Rahim Yar Khan on November 27.
Hundreds of workers participated in the rally which turned into a public meeting upon reaching the gate of the factory. The well known labour leader, organiser of the PTUDC and divisional general secretary of the People’s Labour Bureau, Haider Chughtai said in his speech that the struggle and protests will continue till the reinstatement of the sacked workers is achieved. He demanded that all sacked workers should be restored, regularized and paid their arrears. He said that the current CBA Union has no support among the workers and it is with the help of the management that no union election has taken place for two years. Haider Chughtai raised the demand of immediately holding a referendum in Unilever and contract workers to be given the right to vote. Needy workers should be hired instead of the favourites of the management. All contract workers should be made permanent. He vowed to continue the struggle and protests if the demands are not met, which could deteriorate the law and order situation and the yellow union would be responsible for it.
He announced that there would be a sit-in on Tuesday at 11am in front of the factory gate. The speakers included Labour Action Committee convener Muhammad Naeem Muhandara, organizer of the Jag Workers’ Movement Ashraf Pirji, president of the Workers’ Action Committee Unilever Sami Baloch, provincial leader of APCA Mian Ikraam Ul Haq, president MRDW Unilever Malik Muhammad Nadeem and Sajjad Shah, PTUDC organizer Raees Kajjal, BNT organizer Riaz Aqeel, YFIS organizer Umair Yousaf, PYO divisional general secretary Mian Faisal, district president PSF Akram Bhatti, Unilever Revolutionary Workers’ Union general secretary Zulfiqar Ali and PTUDC media cell organiser Jam Saleem Ur Rehman.
The speakers expressed their solidarity with the Unilever workers and urged the Unilever management to reinstate the dismissed workers and regularise those working on contract. Protesters were carrying banners and placards with slogans in favour of the workers. The workers raised slogans against the Unilever management and burnt tyres on the road. There was a huge police deployment to keep the protest under control.