Islamabad: Thousands workers on Friday staged protest demonstration around the country against price hike, increase in petroleum prices, proposed privatization of Wapda and its Distribution Companies, Pakistan Steel Mills, PIA and other national entities.
The protest call was given by All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU) The workers of Wapda, Railway, PWD, PTV, PTCL, irrigation department, Pakistan Post, PTDC, National Bank, ZTBL, Municipal Federation, Fon Gas, Wasa and other trade unions affiliated with APFUTU participated in the demonstration.
The protesters were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans in support of their demands and beating their breasts and raising slogans against the proposed privatisation, price hike, “Petrol Bomb”, anti-labour laws and other problems they are facing.
Addressing the protesters on this occasion the leaders of APFUTU condemned the policies of the government and termed it anti-people and also rejected the proposed plan of privatisation. leaders of APFUTU, said that the government instead of seeking loans from international financial institutions like World Bank and IMF should go for self-reliance.
They said that at a time when people were already hit by high inflation, they warned of country-wide strike, if the government did not introduce necessary economic and social reforms to make national public utilities sustainable. He demanded the Federal Government to hold composite dialogues on the issue with the representatives of the union and stop the process of privatisation of the profitable distribution companies. The labour leaders condemned the killings of innocent citizens including workers by the terrorists and demanded social protection for all by raising old-age benefits. They also demanded to bring the culprits to book who plundered Rs40 billion of Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI). They appealed to the patriotic forces to join hands with the working class to establish an egalitarian society through concerted struggle and defeat the ethnic, parochial and religious, sectarian and terrorist forces.
He urged the government to withdraw recent increase in petroleum prices and review the labour legislation and repeal Section 27-B of the Banking Companies Ordinance and bring labour laws in conformity with ILO Conventions ratified by the government of Pakistan and review the privatisation policy of national public utilities including Railways, Wapda, PIA by raising their productivity through transparent management in the wider public interest.
*Syed Zia-Ullah Azam* General Secretary *All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU)*
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