TRADE UNIONS ACTIVISTS ARRESTED IN PAKISTAN

The military regime in Pakistan has stepped up attacks on the labour movement as part of a crackdown on opposition forces. We present three reports direct from Pakistan. Please protest at these latest outrages.

Eight Trade Unions activists at Dada Bhai Cement Factory Norrieabad, district Dadu, Sind have been picked up by local police at 11pm on 28th June. Their crime was to organize a new union at the factory to fight for workers right. They took a legal course to register the union and applied with the National Industrial Relation Commission for that. But after the initial threats and intimidations, now police have been used to arrest the activists.

The arrested trade union activists include Mohammed Younas Rahoo, a
National Committee member of Labour Party Pakistan. The other 7 are also
members of LPP. The real nature of the charges has still to emerge, as
we do not have yet the access to First Investigation Report (FIR) of
Police.

Mohammed Younas Rahoo was elected in May 2000 as the new union secretary
by a meeting of workers attended by over 300. When the administration of
this profitable cement factory came to know about the establishment of
the new union, they came to Labour Party Sind Office in Hyderabad and
offer a bribe of half a million Rupees ($ 10,000) to Younas Rahoo and
others for not registering the union. Despite a severe economic crisis
of the party, Younas Rahoo, Aziz Abbasi and other trade union activists
refused to accept any bribe and told them that they will go ahead with
the process of union registration.

There are already few trade unions registered in the factory but all of
them have become real collaborators of the bosses. All the efforts to
form a genuine union were blocked by the bosses. Then Watan Dost Mazdoor
Federation (WDMF) affiliate of Pakistan Workers Confederation took up
the task to register the union at the factory level. The General
Secretary of WDMF, Aziz Abbasi, a veteran workers leader and a member
National Committee of LPP, applied for the registration of the union
with the help of some 300 workers of the factory. This became the real
crime and police have arrested Younas Rahoo and other trade union
activists of the factory. There are reports that police is also looking
for Aziz Abbasi.

Meantime, the Chairman of LPP Dost Mohammed Channa, senior vice chairmen
of LPP Pakistan Makhdoom Rashid have warned the local administration
that workers of other factories will not keep quiet on this brutal
attack on the fundamental right of workers to form the union.

In another development, several close supporters of LPP in Railway
workshops at Lahore have been transferred to far off places from Lahore
as a punishment. They have gone to the Labour Court in Lahore against
the decision. Their crime was to organize mass movement of the workers
against the ban on overtime and piecework.

In Lahore, LPP General Secretary Farooq Tariq and Chairman Shoaib Bhatti
described the event as the real face of the present military regime. It
exposes the so-called liberal face of the regime. They said in a press
release that this is eight time, that the regime have attacked LPP
activists who are in the fore front of the fight for democracy and
socialism. LPP leaders said that the Railway workers leaders in
Rawalpindi were released on bail but they still have to face the charges
in the courts. LPP leaders told the regime that these events would not
stop the activists of LPP in their fight against the capitalist system.
They told that in one month alone, 16 activists and leaders of LPP have
been arrested and their real crime was to organize the movements and
unions to fight for workers rights.


LABOUR LEADERS ARRESTED FOR FORMING UNION

Sat, 1 Jul 2000

The police have arrested nine trade union leaders of Dadabhoy Cement
Factory, Nooriabad.District Dadu.

The elected general secretary of the Progressive Employees Union, Younas
Rahoo, is among the nine arrested. Others are: Norooz Khan, Akbar, Mir
Shaukat, Rafiq Ahmad, Ghulam Mustafa, Afzal and Attique.

These leaders were arrested either from the plant or the Employees
Colony, adjacent to the plant.

They have been arrested in a bid to stop them from registering their
Progressive Employees Union at the National Industrial Relations
Commission (NIRC).

Their bosses offered Rs two million bribe to Younas Rahoo to desist him
from forming union. A representative of the administration went to his
village to offer this bribe. His father rejected it as Rahoo himself was
not there.

The owner of the mill is among the top 22 big capitalists of the
country. He has never allowed formation of any union at his cement
factory. All the attempts were crushed during the last 17 years.

The attempt to form Progressive Employees Union was stopped by the
registration of a pocket union at the NIRC by the bosses themselves.
This pocket union is registered in the name of National Labour Union.
After that the leaders of Progressive union were arrested.

The NIRC instead of dispensing justice, sided with the bosses.

The Progressive union was formed with the cooperation of Witan Dost
Mazdoor Federation. Its Secretary, Aziz Abbassi, was instrumental in
forming this union. The Watan Dost Federation is an affiliate of the
Pakistan Workers Confederation.

Aziz Abbasi and Younas Rahoo, both are members of the National Committee
of the Labour Party Pakistan.

Younas Rahoo has been arrested earlier many times for his union
activities.

The Labour Party Pakistan is endeavouring at present to get these
workers released on bail.

Please send protest letters to the following:

Dadabhoy Cement Factory:
Fax: 92 21 4918476
Head Office:
Email:mhdadabhoy@cyber.net.pk

Federal Minister of Labour
Mr. Umar Asghar Khan:
Fax: 92 51 9224890

National Industrial Relation Commission
G 5\2 Islamabad
Fax: 92 51 9205920

Please CC to
edu@found.lhr.sdnpk.org

Comradely,

Farooq Sulehria
Member Executive Committee
Labour Party Pakistan


LABOUR PARTY SIND CHAIRMAN ARRESTED

Mon, 3 Jul 2000

Labour Party Pakistan Sind Chairman Dost Mohammed Channa and Aziz Abbasi general secretary Watan Dost Mazdoor Federation and member National Committee LPP were arrested last night 1st of July, in Hyderabad. They went to jail authorities with the bail papers of 9 other trade union leaders whose bail application was accepted by the court in the morning. At Nara Jail Hyderabad, on the instruction of the Colonel Maqsood of Army Monitoring Cell of Hyderabad, both trade union leaders were arrested. They both have been kept at GOR police station of Hyderabad.

Both of these nationally known leaders were helping the workers of Dada
Bhoi Cement Factory at Norieabad District Dadu to form a union at the
factory. This effort resulted in the arrest of nine workers including
Younas Rahoo, a member of National Committee of LPP. These workers were
released on 1st of July on bail with the efforts of the two arrested
leaders.

It is worth remembering, that just in June 2000, 18 leaders and members
of Labour Party Pakistan have been arrested on the charges of organizing
unions, helping the workers in the struggle and movements.

We appeal to all the trade unions, NGO, s, political activists and
progressive people to raise your voice against these arrests. We demand
an immediate release of all the arrested labor leaders. We demand the
acceptance of right of the workers to form unions. We demand that
National Industrial Relation Commission to accept the workers request to
form the Progressive labor union at Dada Bhoi Cement Factory District
Dadu.

Please send your protests to the following mail numbers.

Dada Bhoy Cement factory Head Office:
Telephone: 92 21 4545704 Fax: 92 21 4918476
Email: mhdadabhoy@cyber.net.pk

Federal Minister Of Labour
Umer Asghar Khan
Fax: 92 51 9224890 Tel: 92 51 9224578

Mr. Zia Mohammed Mirza,
Chairman National Industrial Relation Commission
Fax: 92 52 9205920

Chief Executive,
General Pervaiz Musharaf
Email: ce@pak.gov.pk

Copies to
lpp@lpp.lhr.sdnpk.org

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