Workers decry govt’s plan of privatisation of PIA, Steel Mill

KARACHI: A representative gathering of the labour here on Saturday expressed serious concerns on the proposed plans to privatise Pakistan Steel Mill and state-owned Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and demanded to stop this plan because this will result in joblessness of thousands of employees.

Speaking at a provincial consultation of the National Labour Council (Sindh) held at PILER Centre Karachi, the labour leaders condemned government’s plan for privatization of key public sector organisations. They pointed out that hundreds of thousands of workers had lost their jobs as a result of privatisation of state-owned industrial and commercial units in the past since the 1990s.

The consultation meeting presided over the senior trade union leader Haibuddin Junaidi was also addressed by labour leaders from different parts of Sindh. Prominent among them included Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali, Democratic Workers Union of State Bank of Pakistan Liaqat Sahi, National Organisation of Working Communities Farhat Perveen, National Trade Unions Federation Nasir Mansoor, Roshan Kalhoro, Sultan Khan, Mirza Maqsood Ahmed, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Asad Iqbal Butt, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Saeed Baloch, Shaikh Majeed and others.

Privatisation has never provided positive results to the economy and internationally privatisation has been stopped, a speaker pointed out. The economists are unanimous in their views that privatisation has harmed the economies of the world. “We understand that privatisation is not in favour of the country as most of the privatised units were either closed down or still working in losses,” said a resolution passed at the meeting.

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They also resolved to start a resistance movement against the privatisation across the country. The trade union representatives underlined the need for compliance with labour standards of International Labour Organisation (ILO) including a right to association and collective bargaining. All labour related facilities should be provided to all workers universally.

They expressed contentment the European Union has extended the Generalised System of Preference Plus (GSP+) scheme. In case the scheme was suspended by the European Union thousands of exports manufacturing industries might have been closed down and hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs, they added.

The resolution demanded the provincial government of Sindh to take practical steps to implement the Sindh Labour Policy, announced recently including making all necessary amendments in the Labour laws by the provincial assembly to make them more effective. The labour leaders pointed out that majority of the workers in both industrial and services sectors are employed through third-party contract system.

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