Labour leaders urge Musharraf to quit

10 Mar 2008


HYDERABAD, March 9 A declaration issued at the end of the Sindh Trade Union Leaders' Conference has urged President Musharraf to immediately resign, saying that the people of the country have voted against him in the February 18 general elections.

The conference was held at the press club here on Sunday under the aegis of the Sindh chapter of the National Labour Federation. More than 100 trade union leaders from all over Sindh attended the conference.

The conference called upon the coming government to repeal emergency laws, set aside illegal acts of the Musharraf government and restore sacked judges, including deposed chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry.

Expressing concern over introduction of contract system in industrial units of Sindh, the conference called upon the new provincial assembly to enact a law against the system.

It demanded payment of Rs300 allowance announced by a previous government for public servants and restoration of move-over in grade of government servants.

It said that the ban on trade unions in railway department, Karachi Shipyard and PIA should be lifted and the Industrial Relations Ordinance-2002 should be amended according to the proposals offered by trade unions.

The conference said that all the industrial workers should be given appointment letters and social security cover.

It pointed out that workers employed at hotels, petrol pumps, shops and private hospitals and schools were not being paid minimum wages of Rs4,600 and urged the labour ministry to enforce the Minimum Wages Act in letter and spirit.

The conference lashed out at the owners of bangle manufacturing units for depriving thousands of workers of their legal rights by not issuing them appointment letters as a result of which they were not covered by the social security scheme. It pointed out that bangle workers were denied annual, casual and medical leaves.

It criticized the federal labour secretary for suspending dowry grant and demanded its restoration. It demanded that hegemony of Islamabad over the Workers Welfare Fund should be done away with and the fund should be transferred to the Sindh Workers Welfare Board.

It called upon the governments of Pakistan and other Muslim countries to sever diplomatic relations with Denmark for publication of sacrilegious cartoons in Danish newspapers.

Speaking on the occasion, NLF president Rafiq Ahmed Khan and its provincial president Rana Mehmood Ali Khan said that during President Musharraf's eight years of rule, workers had been treated as second class citizens and deprived of legal facilities, trade unions banned, arbitrary amendments introduced in labour laws and inordinate increase in the prices of essential consumer goods had broken the back of common man.

They, however, expressed the hope that the new government would honour its promises made to the workers and said that they were prepared to give some time to the new government to resolve problems of the workers.