Sixty thousand telecom workers of Pakistani Telecommunications Ltd (PTCL) have started an indefinite strike today. This decision was taken in a meeting of union’s actions committee in Islamabad yesterday, after negotiations with management failed to come to any conclusions on the union’s demands for an end to privatisation and improved pay and conditions.
The civil administration and police tried to force the leaders to call off the strike, but failed. This strike has entered a crucial stage. The government is preparing a clamp down on the leaders and they will try to arrest them. Leaders and workers are determined to stand up to any repression and arrests. The second and third layer of leadership in the strike committees has been formed, in preparation for any attacks by the military and the police.
The strike is so successful that not a single office of PTCL is open throughout the country. Workers are not allowing members of management to enter the workplaces and they have locked the telephone exchanges and offices.
Four thousand telecom workers have stormed the headquarters of PTCL in Islamabad and are refusing to leave until the government announces the withdrawal for the privatisation of the company
The Trade Union Rights Campaign–Pakistan (TURC-P), which has played a leading role on the nine-union strong action committee formed in Telecom sector, has started to mobilise other unions in solidarity with telecom workers. Workers are saying that this is a decisive fight; and that they will not give up without achieving all their demands. This is one of the most organised and solid strikes in the history of PTCL.
The TURC-P is appealing to all trade unionists and trade unions, community activists and socialists to send letters of support and solidarity to the striking telecom workers at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The demands of the strike and the TURC-P are for:
– End the Privatisation programme
– Abolish IRO 2002, Labour policy 2002, Removal from service ordinance 2000-1, and all other anti-union laws.
Rukhsana Manzoor Secretary Workers Education in the Muthida Labour Federation and TURC-P, Lahore