The Labour Movement in Pakistan has been through challenging times which is now fragmented on different scales. The movement is divided in the whole country sometimes on ideological bases or on ethnic lines. There is need to understand the core issues of the Labour Movement in Pakistan and come up with a strategy to strengthen the movement across the country. In this video series, we talk to various labour leaders to know about their struggle and about the Labour Movement in Pakistan and how to strengthen it fight against social injustice.
In Pakistan, the labour movement has been under attack. The conditions under which trade unions operate are worsening practically. Repressive political regimes have always suppressed the labour movement. Moreover, precarious labour is becoming increasingly »normal«. However, trade unions are neither helpless nor passive! All trade unions do have the power to change the future if they get united. In this episode, Karamat Ali of PILER tells the history of the labour movement in Pakistan, its current struggle and also talks about the future of collective action.
The history of the Labour Movement in Pakistan is full of a rich background in which veteran leaders were very active. But after the military coup of 1977, the trade unions were banned and the struggle to organize the workers is still going on. Listen to Muhammad Hanif Ramay of MLF talking about the historical context of trade unions in Pakistan.
The existing social, political and economic situation shows the lives of millions of people in the Third World have been negatively impacted by imperialist globalization and its three elements of liberalization, privatization, and deregulation. Listen to Chaudhary Muhammad Akbar of MLF who talks about the divide and rule policy that causes hurdles in the unification of the labour movement in Pakistan.
Labour federations unions may make use of their structural power to disrupt or withdraw labour. The unions have the power within institutional arrangements, including through labour laws and within tripartite bodies. Unions can mobilize societal power by building alliances with social and political actors or by influencing public debate, for example when they successfully link their struggles to broader social norms and values. In this episode, Nasir Mansoor of NTUF talks about the poor labour laws which increase labour exploitation and gives recommendations to fight against social injustice.
Home-based women workers face more cruel exploitation because they even do not get wages equal to their male counterparts for the same work. There are millions of home-based workers in Pakistan and their number is rising at a rate of 5% a year. However, their crucial role in the national economy is yet to be accepted and they are still deprived of their rights and social security privileges under the labour laws. Listen to Zehra Khan of HBWWF to understand the issue of home-based workers in Pakistan.
Balochistan is still a neglected federating unit means that a preponderant majority of its citizens cannot enjoy their basic rights. But those citizens are not equal in misery as many workers suffer more than others. Listen to Sultan Lala of APLF/PCMLF talking about the miseries of workers in Balochistan and the situation of the Labour Movement in Balochistan.
The worst incident in Balochistan recently happened was that the workers belonging to government departments were deprived of forming the unions as a consequence of a decision by the Balochistan High Court. Listen to Khan Zaman of BLF sharing the plight of workers in Balochistan.
In a class-based society like Pakistan, where there is little room for the working class, it is necessary to have organizations that are committed to the causes of workers’ rights. Listen to Farhat Parveen of NOWC where she tell the audience how to organize the working communities and the role of women in the Labour Movement of Pakistan.
To strengthen the Labour Movement of Pakistan, there is a need to build the capacity of workers and their organizations through education, research, training, advocacy and networking on the issues related to labour rights. Listen to the experiences of Mir Zulfiqar Ali of WERO about his work in organizing the workers.