PC Hotel Workers to Management:
"If you won't recognise our union, we don't want your money"
from IUF Pakistan Office
Members of the
Karachi Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel Workers’ Union have refused
to accept a wages arrears amount of 3,200 Rupees (US$50) which was offered
by the luxury hotel's management.
Mehboob, General Secretary of the PC Hotel Workers Union.
Despite more than six years of continuous efforts by management to convince
workers to abandon their union, workers have stood firm with their demand
for recognition. Because of management's actions no collective agreement
has been reached since 2001, which has meant workers have not received
financial or non-financial benefits beyond what was operating at that
In May 2005 hotel management unilaterally increased basic pay of workers
by 1,500 Rupees (US$24) per month. The management had hoped that through
this tactic workers would cease to support the union. When workers maintained
their support for the union, and management recognised its ploy had failed,
the very next month (June 2005) management 'revised' the actual increase
in basic pay to 300 Rupees (US$5) per month. After a number of months
wage arrears were paid, but only on the basis of the smaller June 2005
figure; in 2006 union members lodged complaints against the revision with
Payment of Wages. More than 100 workers have prepared to file their claim.
On 25 March 2007 the management issued a notice stating that “there
is no recognised union in the hotel" which is both untrue in
law and in practice. In addition the note informed workers of management's
"great generosity" with new changes to their income, which
included merging the monthly 300 Rupees into basic pay, and from July
2007 adding a new cost of living allowance of 500 Rupees (US$8.25)
Given these changes the management asked workers to collect arrears owing
from the changes which amounted to 3,200 Rupees (US$50) and sign a letter
stating that there are no outstanding amounts owed.
The management was thus trying to prevent the workers' claims at Payment
of Wages court. Although management had set up a cashier in the cafeteria
to encourage workers to take the money on offer, workers refused to collect
On 5th April 2007 the hotel management organized a religious gathering
in the hotel and invited all employees. The union demanded management
withdraw the notice that states “there is no Collective Bargaining
(recognised) Union in the hotel”. On management’s refusal
union officers called on workers not to participate in the religious meeting,
which they agreed to. At the time of the programme the hotel management
came and asked workers to go to the programme. All the workers boycotted
the religious programme and management failed to bring the workers in
The union members neither accepted the arrears nor attended religious
meeting which is a big set back to the hotel management. It shows that
neither money nor attempting to play with workers' beliefs will induce
them to give up their rights to a trade union of their choice.
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