Zardari Visit Threatens Workers Strike in PC Karachi
It now appears that the visit of President Zardari to Karachi is treathening to break the strike of PC Hotel workers.
According to Riaz Ahmed, an academic that has been monitoring the strike, the following has occured:
“PC workers camp visited by Pakistan Peoples Party Karachi chieftains Najmi Alam and Usman Ghani (also chief of over 120 day protest camping Muslim Commercial Bank sacked workers) at about 10pm PST on March 04.
The police are threatening to remove the camped workers outside PC hotel sometime tommorow on the pretext that President Zardari is visiting Karachi and may pass through the intersection where the protesters are camping.
The PPP Karachi supremos are reportedly negotiating with the PC Hotel management that the occupiers will not be harmed once the outside camp is removed for 2-days!”
It is tragic that the President of Pakistan, who is also the co-chair of the Peoples Party which originally sought to create a socialist society, is so insensitive to workers struggle.
The President ought to consider an alternative route. The PPP government should lend all possible support to the workers strike. But instead, we see the opposite happening. The mere presence of the President Zardari is being used to break up the protest.
It is a worrying development.
Consistent with their socialist agenda, the PPP ministers and office-bearers must express their solidarity with the disempowered workers; they must use their influence to resolve this issue as soon as possible through facilitating objective and impartial negotiations between the management and the striking workers.
Instead of dislodging the protesting workers, President Zardari must use his office to get their issues resolved without late.
Zardari signs 2 laws aimed at protecting working class
* President says govt has handed over 10% shares of state-owned entities to employees for free
KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday signed two laws passed by parliament to repeal the Removal from Services (Special Powers) Ordinance, 2000 and amend the Services Tribunal Act.
The president signed the bills at a ceremony held at the Sindh chief minister’s house.
According to an official statement, Zardari said the government would preserve the rights of the working class while ensuring a conducive environment for business, setting the stage for another phase of prosperity and development in Pakistan.
Zardari said the laws were aimed at protecting the working class from exploitation and arbitrary termination from service. “The removal from services ordinance was a bad law as it conferred arbitrary powers on the authorities in violation of the workers’ fundamental rights,” he added.
Zardari said a “bad law” had been annulled and the authorities would not have arbitrary powers over the employees and labourers anymore.
He said Section 2A of the Services Tribunal Act, 1973 had deprived the workers of their right to take their disputes to the labour courts, the Labour Appellate Tribunal as well as the National Industrial Relations Commission.
He called upon all political forces to unite to improve the conditions for labourers and protect them from exploitation.
Zardari said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had a vision for the underdeveloped sections of society and secured rights for labourers and farmers. He said ZAB also gave the people the right to vote and ensured women’s emancipation.
“But slowly and gradually, anti-Pakistan, anti-people and anti-poor elements usurped the rights of the people,” he said, adding that change in the services tribunal law would restore those rights.
The president said Benazir Bhutto’s vision, her return to Pakistan and her martyrdom was a continuation of the philosophy of “Bhuttoism”, adding that Benazir raised her voice against the draconian labour laws.
He congratulated the prime minister, the labour minister and parliament for changing service laws. Zardari said Pakistan had to move ahead towards a new era in which labourers and farmers were made partners in agriculture and industry.
He said in line with the Pakistan People’s Party’s vision, the government had handed over 10 percent shares of state-owned entities, including the Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited and Pakistan State Oil, to the employees for free as their inherent right.
“The government’s job is not only to maintain a good balance sheet but also work for the welfare of the people,” Zardari said. staff report/app
While one must begin by acknowledging that no other mainstream party would even concede this much to the working class, it is a matter of grave concern that the original thrust of the PPP is being diluted.
The founding documents of the party called for a “classless society, which is only possible through socialism in our time” and the 1968 program clearly envisioned a worker state in which workers would democratically control all production.
This platform was far more radical than any program, even those of Communist parties, in the sub-continent.
Today we are seeing a caricature of this program. Giving the workers 10% *shares* in state owned companies makes workers junior partners – at best- in benefits from their labour.
If the party tries to *manage* capitalism, it will get its self in a mess. This is particularly true in the current period when Capitalism is failing to provide relief to workers and we see that even in advanced countries like the US we see huge layoffs and cutbacks in benefits.
Also, the camp has officially been removed.
Please consider sending a message of support to the union at email@example.com
@Khan Thanks, Khawer. I will write to them shortly expressing our support to the union.