For the First Time May Day Rally Delivers Solidarity to the Front Door
of the Pearl Continental Hotel
The Pearl Continental
Hotel Workers’ Solidarity Committee organised a torch rally
on 30 April 2007 from Karachi Press Club to PIDC House. PIDC House
was chosen because it is situated in front of the Pearl Continental
(PC) Hotel and thus allowed the rally to pass the Hotel. Although
there were many activities in Karachi on 30 April, the PC rally
was unique. Mobilization work bean two weeks ago. Many political
and social organisations, trade unions, NGOs and professional organisations
were visited by PC solidarity committee members. A poster was published
and a hand bill was widely distributed in the city. The media committee
visited print and electronic media representatives.
At 7pm on 30
April hundreds of workers and people from all walks of life gathered
at the Karachi Press Club. The rally was completely peaceful. The
management of the Pearl Continental Hotel asked the police and civil
administration to either stop or change the route of the rally,
but both police and civil administration refused. The police also
provided security to the participants with two vehicles escorting
the rally. When the rally reached the front of the PC Hotel, the
participants stopped and shouted slogans. Workers from teh hotel
came out and welcomed the rally. Many family members of the PC workers
also attended the rally.
delegation visited the Sindhi Chief Minister's residence and the
Pearl Continental Hotel. The delegation presented resolutions to
the Chief Minister and to Sadruddin Hashwani demanding the reinstatement
of disimissed PC hotel workers and recognition of the PC Hotel Workers'
At the end the
rally representatives of numerous supporting organisations spoke
and assured PC hotel workers of their full and continued support.
Speakers demanded that the dismissed workers be reinstated immediately
and that management should recognise the union and start negotiations
immediately. Speakers also paid tribute to the union for its continuing
The rally achieved
three main aims:
1. For the last five years the PC union jointly or independently
has organised many activities including meetings, processions and
rallies. These activities have been held in different parts of the
city. However, this was first time a PC activity was successfully
organised on the main street in front of the hotel. The area is
generally blocked to any rallies. This success gave workers a great
2. Previously all correspondence between union and management had
taken place via fax or post. This was first time that a delegation
was able to visit the hotel a meet the General Manager to hand over
3. The rally received widespread publicity through print and electronic
media. Around 20 newspapers printed either pictures or news or both.
The leading newspapers (Dawn, The News) printed the photographs on their
front page. All television channels including the state owned Pakistan
Television covered the rally in the national news.
Food Industry Women Workers Lead May Day Rally
National Federation of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Workers jointly with
the Working Women Federation organised a workers meeting in the industrial
area of Multan to mark May Day. (Multan has a population of about 4 million
people and is an industrial centre in the province of Punjab).
The meeting was
attended by leaders and workers from different unions and women workers
from the food industry (who are not in unions). It was first time
in Multan that any activity was organized in the factory area on May
Day. Although the factory area has many businesses, to date no May
Day activities have occurred in this part of the city. The Women Workers
Federation chose to organise the meeting at a place near to workers’
homes and workplaces.
the May Day meeting was affected by the Punjab Chief Minister’s
visit to Multan on 30 April, which included a public address. Government
officers were instructed to make the Chief Minister’s event
“successful”. They booked much of the city’s private
transport for the meeting. The Department of Labour and Manpower
asked factory managers to send workers to the Chief Minister’s
speech and factory owners were given permission to keep factories
open on May Day. The Labour Department un-officially gave an incentive
to the factory owners and abolished the May Day holiday. The workers,
especially in small establishments, were forced to work on May Day
so they were unable to attend the celebrations and rallies on that
day. Union leaders criticised the labour department’s attitude
to allow factory owners to run their establishments on the national
at the meeting informed the participants that they were meant to
be at their work but many women workers came to the meeting and
participated in the rally. Multan is one of the hottest places in
the country and May Day was celebrated in very hot weather: 42 degrees
celsius. The women workers in their speeches noted they are not
paid even minimum wages, un-paid overtime work is common in the
food and beverages factories. A campaign has started for the registration
of workers for social security. Women Workers Federation is holding
meetings with women workers and educating them about their rights.
from the IUF’s Ma Wei Pin (Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary) and
Sarah Gardner (Asia/Pacific Women’s Officer) were shared with
was followed by a rally which was welcomed by many residents of
the factory area. It was a new experience for both the participants
and the residents.
Yar Khan: Food Unions Unity Grows
IUF affiliated Unilever Employees Federation and Coca Cola Union
organised a large rally in Rahim Yar Khan on May Day. Thousands
of workers from the Unilever Factory and the Coca Cola factory participated
in the rally. The rally started at the gate of Unilever factory.
Despite the hot weather the workers walked three kilometers and
finished at the office of the Unilever Federation where a meeting
was held. The leaders of the Unilever Federation announced that
they will join the National Federation of Food, Beverage and Tobacco
Workers. They said that a national organisation is needed and without
a national organisation it is difficult to secure workers’
rights. The leaders of Coca Cola Rahim Yar Khan Union welcome the
decision of Unilever workers to join the NFFBTW.
PC Hotel Workers to Management: "If you won't recognise our
union, we don't want your money"
Pakistan: Pearl Continental Hotel Workers'
Campaign Builds Wider Support Amongst Democracy Parties
Pakistan: Hotel Workers' Federation Condemns
Terrorist Attacks on Civilians and South Asian Peace Process
for Justice': Huge Support for Pearl Continental Hotel Union in Year
6 of Struggle