On 15 February, in Lahore, the trade union federation organised a rally attended by several hundred workers commemorating Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhary, labour activist and former APTUF leader who died in February 2011. It was the occasion for APTUF General Secretary in her speech to pay tribute to the militant who “spent his whole life and struggle against capitalists, and also against imperialists led war against IRAQ, Afghanistan spread(ing to) different countries.” She further said that “he bravely criticized the (Pakistani) government pro imperialist policies”.
Rubina Jamil also presented a paper in which she described the current working-class situation. She especially insisted on the situation of over-exploited agricultural and brick kiln workers and the “great exploitation of women and children, (with) no social security cards”. She also denounced the “government (…) taking direct dictation from IMF/World Bank and imposing anti workers/people policies” saying “There is a great attack on working class always whenever they form their unions”
Muhammad Ilyas, president of the APTUF, presented an eleven-point resolution, unanimously passed.
“1. Arrest Kamran Afzal, Employer (of) Ravi Autos (who) started firing on Workers in which Muhammad Rizwan was killed and 4 workers (were) injured still in Mayo Hospital, Lahore. (Read box)
2. Reopen Ravi Autos and pay 3 months back salary to workers
3. Stop harassment of Model town society office bearers by the management
4. Government cancel Privatization agreement.
5. EOBI [retirement] pension should increase
6. No to privatization of Banks or any state-owned company including WAPDA (water and power distribution), Railway, Hospitals.
7. Stop violation of ILO Convention 98, 87 (Right of formation of trade union & association)
8. Labour Inspection should be started again
9. Implement the Legislation for Agricultural workers
10. Contract labour should be stopped
11. Stop bonded labour system”
On the 8th of March, the APTUF is organising the international day of working women. ■
Ravi Auto is an auto spare parts subcontracting factory in Lahore city employing 800 workers. They organised a union but it went wrong with the employer.
On 17 February, the workers organised a picket line in front of the factory to have their demands met. The boss sent goons who shot at the strikers killing one and injuring four others.
On 18 February, all the workers walked the body of the dead worker to the Press Club of Lahore, demanding the arrest of the employer and the back payment of their wages.