8th July 2006 the Punjab Labour Court reinstated Nasir Aman Sindhu (at
right), President of the Pearl Continental Hotel Employees Union, Lahore,
two and a half years after his unfair dismissal. Nasir Sindhu is also
Publicity Secretary in the Pakistan Hotels, Restaurants, Clubs, Tourism,
Catering and Allied Workers’ Federation.
dismissed Nasir on 1st March 2004 claiming that Nasir illegally invited
personal guests to an employees' day function. In fact, the employees'
day function was organised jointly by the hotel management and the union
according to collective agreement. The function in question was held
on 28 January 2004 and the union invited Ch. Ameer Hussain, Speaker
of the National Assembly as Chief Guest. The union president made a
speech on the occasion demanding workers be paid bonuses and that casual
workers, who had worked at the hotel for many years, should be made
permanent. Ch. Ameer Hussain also supported these demands when he spoke.
The hotel management were not happy as the reports of the function and
speeches were published in local media outlets.
As a result, the
hotel management issued charge sheet to Nasir Aman Sindhu. Nasir replied
but management established an enquiry committee. The committee gave
no chance for the union to the charges against Nasir and the management
dismissed him on 1st March 2004. Nasir sent a grievance notice and later
filed a case in the labour court.
Nasir was one of
the participants of an IUF-sponsored study tour for hotel unionists
to Indonesia and Malaysia in 2005 and on his return, the hotel management
offered him his job back on the condition that he resign from his role
in the Hotel Federation where he is Publicity Secretary. Nasir refused.
On 8 July 2006,
the Punjab Labour Court ruled that PC Lahore Human Resource Manager
was not the competent authority to issue a show cause notice as this
person was not the employer, and thus set aside the dismissal order
due to a defective inquiry. However, the court stated the management
could hold a new inquiry. The matter of back benefits to Nasir would
thus be determined in the light of the result of a new inquiry.
The union was conscious
of management’s continuing desire to dismiss the union president
following a new inquiry. An appeal was lodged with the Punjab High Court,
stating that given the ruling of the Labour Court determined that the
initial show cause notice was unlawful there should be no new inquiry.
A request was also submitted to pay back benefits and to cancel any
new inquiry the management might attempt.
The Punjab High Court accepted his appeal and issued notice for hearing
in the first week of October 2006. The Punjab High Court also directed
to the hotel management inquiry officer to proceed with an inquiry but
not to finalize a report.
management did not want to let Brother Nasir to return to work, but
following the Punjab High Court's acceptance of the appeal they had
no option but to allow Brother Nasir to return to work otherwise they
may be held in contempt. Brother Nasir has now returned to work. The
union intends to continue to press for his full reinstatement.
Pearl Continental Lahore Local Union Elections
Show Increased Support for National Hotel Workers' Federation