Stop repression against struggling  power loom workers in Punjab

Please send protest letters

More than 100,000 workers of power loom in Faisalabad district of Punjab province are on strike from today, July 20, 2010 for their demand of wage increase according to the announcement by Government in the budget 2010-11. Government announced 17 % rise in the minimum wage for the private sector workers. Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM), an organization of power loom workers in Faisalabad, Jhang and other districts, had been in negotiation with power loom owners since the last three weeks for wage increase. These negotiations were facilitated by the district administrations in both the districts. The power loom bosses are not accepting these just demands and are busy in poisonous propaganda against workers by labeling them as terrorists.  

Thousands of workers from different areas of Faisalabad have marched despite a police ban on public gatherings. As the workers began their march, gangsters of power loom owners started straight firing in Sudhar area of Faisalabad.  Sudhar is the suburb of Faisalabad where big number of power loom factories is located. This area has been a scuffle ground between workers and owners since last three years as the workers organized themselves effectively in huge number there.

Police have used tear gas and lathi charge in Faizabad and Ghulam Muhammadabad areas of Faisalabad without any provocation. In one such attack on workers in Faizabad area, Rana Tahir, the district president of LQM in Faisalabad, was injured along with score of others. 25 workers have been injured up till now by police tear gas and lathi charge.

In Jhang district, thousands of workers along with their families including women and children have picketed outside the District Administration Officer’s office and are sitting there until the demands of workers are accepted.

Today, the power looms bosses in Jhang district have paid a half page advertisement in Daily Express Faisalabad asking government to suppress the workers’ movement. The bosses alleged that Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) is linked to Mutihida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a sectarian mass organization in Karachi and is part of the coalition government of Pakistan Peoples Party at Center and in Sindh. The bosses claimed that 15 days strike has cost them over 9 billion Rupees and 15,000 power looms factories are closed. They appealed the government to save Jhang becoming another Karachi. This notorious alliance between bosses and Punjab government is all out to suppress workers movements in Punjab.

We appeal you to send protest letters to the following addresses to demand:

1:Stop workers repression and respect workers right to assemble and strike

2: Increase the wages as notified by the Government of Punjab

3: issue social security card to every industrial worker

4:Lift ban on factory inspection in Punjab

5:Arrest the murderers of two labour leaders of LQM

 

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

President of Pakistan

President's Secretariat

Islamabad, PAKISTAN,

Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk    Phone 92-51-9204801-9214171   Fax 92-51-9207458

2. Mr.Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani

Federal Minister for Human Rights

Ministry of Human Rights

Old US Aid building, Ata Turk Avenue , G-5, Islamabad  PAKISTAN

Fax: +9251-9204108    Email: [email protected]

3. Mr. Salman Taseer

Governor of Punjab

Governor House , Mall Road,  Lahore, PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 42 99203044   Email: [email protected]

4. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab

Punjab Secretariat Lahore, PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 42 7324489    E-mail: [email protected]

5. Minister of Law

Government of Punjab

Punjab Secretariat, Ravi Road , Lahore  PAKISTAN

Fax: +92-42-99212004   E-mail: [email protected]

6. Dr. Faqir Hussain

Registrar  Supreme Court of Pakistan

Constitution Avenue, Islamabad, PAKISTAN

Fax: + 92 51 9213452    E-mail: [email protected]

7. Mr. Tariq Saleem

Inspector-General of Police, Punjab

Police Head Office, Lahore, and Punjab province, PAKISTAN

Fax: +92-42-99210064

8. Mr. Ashraf Khan Sohna,

Provincial Ministrer,
Labour & Human Resource Department,
Government of the Punjab, Civil Secretariat, Lahore.
Ph. 042-9210493, Fax: 042-9210496

9. DCO. Faisalabad

Tel: 0092 41 9200205,  0092 41 9200206, Fax: 0092 41 9200206

Email: [email protected]

Thank you,  

Khalid Mahmood

 

Workers injured, arrested at the beginning of Faisalabad strike

Several workers have been injured by police tear gas shelling and by power looms bosses gangsters firing and stone throwing. Rana Tahir, district president of Labour Qaumi Movement is one of them. Over 100 workers have been arrested so for by the police which is all out in favor of the bosses. Workers are out in thousands from different parts of Faisalabad to reach the city center.

The newly appointed police chief of Faisalabad Aftab Cheema is famous for fake police encounters and is showing mussels now to the working class movement. He is been brought in to “control” the labour movement. Punjab Government of Mian Shahbaz Sharif cannot go very far on this road of repression.

Labour Party Pakistan has appeal to all its supporters to denounce the use of police force against workers and condemn the actions of repression.

At least two district of Punjab have aroused in terms of class struggle. Power looms workers in district Jhang are on strike for the last fifteen days. In Faisalabad, over 100,000 workers have started their strike today despite all the police threats and heavy rains. Workers have started their processions from different parts of the city to reach the center of Faisalabad despite an imposition of section 144 that ban gathering of five or more in public places.

Today, the power looms bosses in Jhang district have paid a half page advertisement in Daily Express Faisalabad asking government to suppress the workers movement. The bosses alleged that Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) is linked to Mutihida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a sectarian mass organization in Karachi and is part of the coalition government of Pakistan Peoples Party at Center and in Sindh. The bosses claimed that 15 days strike has cost them over 9 billion Rupees and 15000 power looms factories are closed. They appealed the government to safe Jhang becoming anther Karachi. 

Bosses are lying. LQM has nothing to do with MQM. LQM is an independent labour organization of mainly power looms and textile workers and the leadership is members of Labour Party Pakistan. The advertisement is an attempt to smear the LQM leadership and to provoke the Punjab government against the working class movement.

In Faisalabad, the local administration has imposed section 144 to stop workers marching to city center. They had used all the SHO in different areas top pressurize the workers for cancelations of the strike. The LQM leadership refused yesterday all the fake assurances of the local administration for mediation between bosses and workers. They have used this tactics several times and LQM postponed their planned actions. One such action of a strike was on 5th July, which was postponed on the assurances of the administration. Very next day, two leaders of LQM were gunned down in one of their offices.

There is no way back. LPP appeals to all its supporters to use all means to support the working class movement in Faisalabad and Jhang.

Farooq Tariq

Strike to go ahead despite the ban and threats

Faisalabad administration have imposed section 144 and banned all public gatherings from today. This is to prevent the strike call by Labour Qaumi Movement that starts tomorrow to press for better rates and wages for power looms workers.

The police inspectors have been calling all the main leaders of LQM and asking them to withdraw the call for a strike. Every LQM local sector in charge have been called by the police and pressurized to cancel the strike call.

The strike call by LQM was given after the local power looms bosses failed to implement the government fixed 17 percent increase in the rates of the workers. Although, the public sector workers have been given a 50 percent wage increase this year, the private sector workers would get only 17 percent wage and rates increased if the bosses agree to implement. The LQM leadership gave several notices to the bosses and the administration. However, none of the two took it seriously.

Instead of listening to workers, a new police chief famous for fake police encounters have been posted in Faisalabad and a new District Administration Office (DCO) is been brought in to deal the situation. Police has also failed to arrest the murderess of the two labour leaders of LQM who were killed in their office on 6th July.

Police today also failed to protect the two Christian brothers falsely accused of blasphemy. Both were murdered today in district courts by an unknown person. There has been a violent reaction to these murders by the Christian youth. In retaliation, Muslims youth are also attacking Waris Pura area where the majority is Christians. At the time of writing this report, there are reports of cross firing in Waris Pura.

Workers leaders gathered today at LQM office and decided to go ahead with the strike despite all the threats and intimidations.

We need your support. We will keep you updated about the situation tomorrow. Please protest if the government uses violent mean to end this strike by arrests, lathe charge or firing.

The main stream media is ignoring the worsening situation of Faisalabad workers. Not a single report by any main stream media is been printed or broadcasted on the murder of the two labour leaders.

Workers are demanding to implement what government has already decided. It is not accepted by the bosses. Instead of arresting the bosses, the police are threatening the workers if they go on strike. Strike is our basic human right. It is the most peaceful act of protest that workers are engaged in. They will just refuse to work. They are not violent. They are not doing any suicidal attacks. They are exercising the rights that the constitution of Pakistan has granted them.

We have not accepted any authoritarian rules during the military dictatorship. We will not accept now either. Labour Party Pakistan appeal to all its supporters nationally and internationally to take notice of this gross violations of human and labour rights in Faisalabad, the third largest city of Pakistan.

Farooq Tariq

 


 

 

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