Monday 4th April 2016
Addressing an Anti-Privatization Labour Conference held at Mandi Bahauddin arranged by the All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU), various workers’ leaders slammed the idea of privatization of the PSEs.
Addressing the participants, Pirzada Imtiaz Syed, Muhammad Naveed, Imtiaz Shaheen among others, said: “We are gathered here to protest against the privatization project, which the government is bent on going ahead with? Over a decade ago, APFUTU denounced the government’s practice of taking loans from the IMF and other international organizations. It has been predicted back then that the government would sell off state-owned firms to pay off the debts. Even parties that promised to give the people “Roti Kapra makaan” (the bare necessities of life) kept on taking loans. Then came the right-wing parties, which sought to divide the country along sectarian lines. They created social fissures and deepened the class divide.
Participants in the Event
APFUTU will support public sector workers in their struggle against privatization. The media tends to cover only political parties led by capitalists or Islamists. They have turned a blind eye towards the problems of the workers.
From the Demonstration
APFUTU government employees’ Section General Secretary, Azam S. Zia-Ullah, said that the Privatization Commission was formed, but there wasn’t any consultation with workers who ran the PSEs that are being privatized by the government. We shouldn’t just limit the struggle against privatization to emotional sloganeering. Privatization represents an ideology under which the government has withdrawn and service delivery has to be handed over to the private sector. He also said that they stand against this ideology and would make the government live up to its responsibility towards the people rather than surrendering them to the private sector and international financial institutions. He said that the struggle against privatization was not a struggle against a particular political party; rather, it is a struggle against the ruling elite of the country, which is represented in all mainstream parties and is supported by the civil and military bureaucracy. Lastly, he stressed that the working people need to become a political force if they want to succeed in their struggle against privatizations.
From the Demonstration
APFUTU organized these seminars in 8 cities including Gujrat, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Multan, Fasilabad and others around the country following the call of TUI-PS and WFTU, on international action day against privatizations.