Asian Food Worker Frontpage
Pakistan: Pearl Continental Lahore Local Union Elections Show Increased Support for National Hotel Workers' Federation
Trade union members and winning candidates from local union elections at the Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore, Pakistan.
The Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel Employees Union Lahore is one of the strongest affiliates of the Pakistan Hotel, Restaurants, Clubs, Tourism, Catering and Allied Workers' Federation. In June 2005 when the federation applied for registration with National Industrial Relations Commission as an industry-wide national federation the management of Pearl Continental Hotels pressured local unions to disaffiliate from the federation. Given the long-standing campaign for trade union rights at the Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi, PC Hotel management were against the idea local hotel unions creating an organisation which might bring greater unity among hotel workers and unions. Despite management attempts to keep local unions away from the new federation, the majority of unions stayed united and the federation was successfully registrated as a national level organisation.

Pearl Continental Lahore Hotel Union President, Nasir Aman Sindhu.
In August 2005 a delegation of representatives from the Pakistan Hotel, Restaurants, Clubs, Tourism, Catering and Allied Workers' Federationn visited Indonesia and Malaysia to meet the unions in the hotel industry. Nasir Aman Sindhu, President, Pearl Continental Hotel Employees' Federation Lahore was one of the delegates. Nasir Aman had been dismissed from PC Lahore on the 1st March 2004. Earlier Nasir had invited the Speaker of the National Assembly to address workers at a workers' function. The Speaker advised menagement to respect workers rights and the laws of the country. It is believed that in retribution for this "infringement" management chose to fire the local union president. (This case of dismissal is pending before the labour court).

On returning from the study tour, PC Lahore hotel management called Nasir to the hotel and informed him that if he gets the local union to leave the new national federation they will consider his reinstatement. Nasir responded that the formation of unions and choice of affiliation at national and international levels is the right of the workers and not the business ofhotel management.

In December 2005, local union elections were due. The union announced the election date as 5th January 2006 for the next three years term 2006-08. The hotel management tried to create a group of preferred candidates who it believed would take the local union out of the federation. However, no body chose to contest the position of union president, general secretary or chairman. Out of sixteen posts in the local union, 14 were won un-opposed (including the President, General Secretary and Chairman). On 5th January 2006 the election was held for the four contested positions: Vice President, Press Secretary, Publicity Secretary and Office Secretary. Candidates who support the union remaining part of the national federation and support union president Nasir won all four four seats with heavy margins. The labour directorate issued the certification of the election result on 27th January 2006.