LAHORE (May 24, 2011) : Large numbers of workers representing over 20 labour and trade unions took out a rally and staged a sit-in at Charing Cross on Tuesday against the government plan to deny them a raise in the upcoming annual budget for 2011-12.
Amid tight security workers, including women, first gathered at GPO Chowk and then marched toward Charing Cross. Carrying flags, banners and placards they chanted slogans against the government.
“We are gathered here to raise our voice for our rights. But the government’s attitude shows that it will not accept workers’ genuine demands, particularly a 100 per cent raise in monthly wages of Rs7,000,” Ms Saima Zia, a social activist, said while talking to this reporter.
She said the workers would continue their struggle till acceptance of their demands.
Zahid Bukhari, a member of Lahore Gymkhana Staff Welfare Association, said though the government claimed giving a 50 per cent raise to workers last year it didn’t consider the sky-rocketing price hike within a year.
Syed Raqeeb Husain, a government official, termed the government’s decision a shameful act. “This is a so-called democratic government, which is actually being run under dictates of International Financial Institutions and the United States. Though we don’t expect any favour from this government we will continue our protest till acceptance of our demands,” he said.
Earlier speaking to the protesters, LPP spokesman Farooq Tariq said the government had lost its trust by following antiworker policies.
He announced ending the protest with a request to workers to participate in a sit-in being staged in Islamabad for the last three days. “Though some police officers have requested us to have a meeting with the Punjab Assembly speaker, but we told them that the workers would only meet with the chief minister about the salary issue of the provincial employees,” he said.