The strike of
power looms workers in Faisalabad enters the seventh day.
All factories are
closed. Today on 27th July, women workers demonstrated in front of
the district administration office. They were demanding an end of
police harassment and raids at their homes. They also spoke against the
open exhibition of arms by the gangsters in the workers localities. The
top police officials had to agree to the demands of the women and
children who had refused to leave the place before their demands are
met.Over 100,000 workers are on strike since 20th JUly and over 20,000
factories are closed completely.
two separate public meetings of striking workers, over 7000 participated
to endorse the call of the Labour Qaumi Movement to continue the
strike until the demand are met. They are demanding a 17 percent
rates increase and a implementation of minimum wage of 7000 Rupees a
month. Over 5000, participated in a public meeting in front of the home
of Rana Tahir, district president of LQM who was seriously injured by
the gangsters of the power looms bosses on 20th July, when the strike
started. This was a tremendous show of solidarity with a workers leader
who refused to run away even after the gangsters demanded him to run. he
said to the gangsters, you can kill me but I will not run away, I will
fight with all my courage.
In another public
meeting, Bushra Khaliq, secretary Women Workers Help Line was the main
speaker who argued for a full participation of women in the strike. She
had gone from Lahore to speak in this late night public meeting at a
place where the bosses had organised a public meeting of 180, a day
before to split the movement. The move failed miserably.
On Friday, four of
us visited Faisalabad and spoke to the district administration and asked
them to accept the demands of the workers. Our delegation included Niaz
Khan general secretary National Trade Union Federation, Mehmood Butt
general secretary Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union and Rana Aslam of LPP
Punjab. We spoke at a public meeting and then went to meet the four
jailed leaders of LQM in a police station. They include Fazal Ilahi, and
Akbar Kambooh, the main leaders of Saddar area of Faisalabad where Mian
Abdul Qayum chairman LQM contested a bye elections in June this year.
We say a great
class consciousness among the young workers and a real urge of
solidarity among the working class. Class consciousness was at its best
in Faisalabad, the third largest city of Pakistan.
enclosed some pictures from Jhang successful 17 days strike of power
looms and some from Faisalabad.