Workers want raise in wages, pensions – Protest in Lahore
Lahore (Daily TheNews/ Friday, May 23, 2014) – Punjab’s workers held a protest demonstration under the auspices of the Pakistan Workers Confederation on Thursday demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to raise wages and pensions of the workers employed in government, semi-government departments, autonomous bodies and private sector by 30 percent of their basic pay and fix minimum pension by 10,000 rupees per month and minimum wages by 30,000 rupees per month for all workers. Workers of different trade unions of various government departments and private sector industrial trade unions, including Wapda, railways; PTCL, PWD and Irrigation Department Punjab, participated in the protest.
Protesters gathered outside the Lahore Press Club said a tax should be imposed on landlords and elites in order to break the chains of heavy debt of the World Bank and IMF and recover 300 billion US dollars deposited by Pakistani businessmen and politicians into the offshore banks as admitted by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
They insisted that public utilities, including electricity, railways, ports, oil and gas, PIA and Wasa, should not be privatised as it was against national interests. Veteran trade union leaders Khurshid Ahmed, Rubina Jameeel, Yousaf Baloch, Akbar Ali Khan, Osama Tariq, Chaudhry Anwar, Niaz Khan and Khushi Mohammed Khokhar addressed thousands of workers and declared that the poor were dying from crushing poverty in a country which was established in the name of Islamic equality, social justice, and fraternity.
The leaders urged PM Sharif to introduce far reaching social and economic reforms in the country, abolish the abuse of land reforms law, child and bonded labour, price hike of essential commodities, and aggravating youth unemployment.
They said new hydel power stations should be developed on war footing basis to get rid of economic hardships and high cost of electricity