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Pakistan: strikes grip public sector

The Pakistani ruling class is trying to force the working class to pay the price of the capitalist crisis. But over the past month a growing movement of resistance has shaken the country, writed  Editor, Resistance magazine.

The Pakistani ruling class is trying to force the working class to pay the price of the capitalist crisis. They are planning to downsize the workforces in all state owned institutions and eventually to privatise them completely. But over the past month a growing movement of resistance has shaken the country.

The workers of the Pakistan Telecommunications Company, the Water and Power Development Authority, the Post Office, the Steel mills and other sectors, have fought back against the sell offs and sackings. In the Karachi Electric Supply Company, 10,000 workers occupied its headquarters against the firing of 4,500 workers. After a four-day occupation, the bosses reinstated the sacked workers.

The railway workers organised a militant demonstration in Lahore against the proposed loss of 20,000 jobs, marching from the railway headquarters to Alhambra hall on the Mall Road. One of the workers, Rizwan, told Resistance magazine: “We are not the ones responsible for the current deficit in the railway. It is the government and the corrupt administration who are responsible”.

This militant demonstration forced the government to announce that they would not sack railways staff although the question of privatisation was left on the table.

The government is also planning to privatise Pakistan Post. The post workers too are resisting vigorously. One of them – Shahid – told Resistance that more than 37,000 jobs are in danger. “We have no other option but to fight,” he said.

In Pakistan International Airlines where 20,000 jobs were threatened workers showed their determination and power, defying the thugs of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, and won their battle against the government.

There is growing unrest among private sector workers too. Now we need to co-ordinate these strikes and overcome the divisions between different unions by building joint strike committees – with delegates elected by the strikers at mass meetings.

During a time of magnificent upsurge in workers militancy and the exposure of the pro-capitalist character of the Pakistan People’s Party government it is becoming ever clearer workers need their own revolutionary party. That is what we in the Revolutionary Socialist Movement are fighting for.

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