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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Mr. Salman Taseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House , Mall Road, Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 99203044 Email: email@example.com
4. Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 7324489 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Minister of Law
Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat, Ravi Road , Lahore PAKISTAN
Fax: +92-42-99212004 E-mail: email@example.com
6. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Mr. Tariq Saleem
Inspector-General of Police, Punjab
Police Head Office, Lahore, and Punjab province, PAKISTAN
8. Mr. Ashraf Khan Sohna,
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
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.