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Karachi Solidarity Meeting for the Workers of Maruti Suzuki, India held on July 19, 2013

20 July 2013

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Solidarity Meeting with the Workers of Maruti Suzuki, India
Organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research

Dated: July 19, 2013

Venue: PMA House Karachi.

Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER) organized a solidarity meeting with Maruti Suzuki workers India on July 19, 2013 at 4pm, PMA House Karachi.

 Karamat Ali, Chief Executive Officer of the PILER initiated the meeting and stated that the violence and denial rights of workers is not new but it still exists and expand more in South Asian region. The Japanese company Suzuki Maruti India is an example of exploitation of workers’ rights and poor Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) where about 2500 workers were fired because they were raising their voice for their basic rights. The management has tried to weaken the trade union. The situation in the company is that the workers get only seven minutes of break during 9-hour work shift.

The media of one country do not make the story of the other country in South Asian region because it does not know the OHS situation in other countries. For example, Indian media and working class do not know the issue of Baldia factory fire where 259 workers lost their lives because there was no emergency exit available for their save their lives, on September 11, 2012.

 He said that for the solidarity of Suzuki Maruti workers, a meeting was organized in New Dehli, attended by lawyers and civil society. Similarly, we should show solidarity with Indian workers. He proposed to establish a solidarity fund for the support of those workers who are currently in Jails in different countries of South Asia. He suggested that a message should be sent to the workers that we are all with them. We should write a letter to Pakistan-based Suzuki Company that they should protect the rights of their workers.

In India, companies do not provide basic rights to the workers and they do not follow their labour laws, we can propagate to ensure provision of these rights from the South Asian Platform.

Noor Muhammad from Pakistan Workers Confederation said that we support the workers of Maruti Suzuki India for their labour rights and join hand to raise this issue at South Asian level.

Senior trade union leader Mr. Manzoor Ahmed Razi said that workers of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are struggling for their rights but are not getting much. He proposed that it is necessary to express solidarity with Indian workers by issuing a joint statement by each trade union and circulate it into the regional networks. He said that the governments of all South Asian countries allow industrialists and investors to export their products but are not willing to talk on rights of workers. Our Pakistan trade unions had tried to coordinate with Indian trade unions but we were not succeeded due to non-cooperation from the political parties of India like Congress and others. We request PILER to do something for us.
Mr. Latif Mughal from Peoples Labour Federation said that cartels exist in each and every sector therefore, we should be united. We should plan to organise a solidarity visit to India and organise a protest in front of Karachi Press Club.
 Mr. Jannat Khan from Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign and Rehana Yasmeen from Hosiery Garments Textile and General Workers Union Sindh shared similar views as presented by Latif Mughal and Karamat Ali.

Mr. Abdul Shakoor from Power Looms Workers General Union said that at present individual worker at plant and enterprise levels are not organised but they are working in isolation. The result of this isolation is that when an incident takes place at plant and enterprise level, labour union usually are unaware of it. Hence, responsibilities lies at individual workers to coordinate with each other and device an information mechanism for news haring.

Mr. Sharafat Ali, Manager Advocacy and Networking, PILER suggested that we should deliver the message of solidarity at the confederations level.
Mr. Noor Muhammad responded that on behalf of Pakistani workers confederation he is willing to provide his utmost support on this issue.

Mr. Karamat in the end expressed thanks of participants and said that we can use the platform of South Asian Labour Forum to deliver the message of solidarity to Indian workers. He endorsed the suggestion of printing of a receipt book for collection of solidarity funds and said that we can print 50 receipt books having each receipt of Rs. 10 for arranging the solidarity fund for Maruti Suzuki workers in India.

He said that PILER would provide 1000 receipt books for this fund. Each union will be responsible for collecting the funds. He said that a South Asian Labour Forum booklet would also be distributed amongst the member trade unions of this solidarity fund. He defined the core objective of on the South Asian Labour Forum and said that this forum was evolved around three objectives: 1) to highlight the issue of Garment and textile workers 2) women rights issue and 3) migrant workers issue.

The members of this meeting unanimously agreed to organise two major events for the upcoming the week: (1) South Asian Labour Forum meeting (2) a press conference on the said issue. Mr. Karamat suggested that we should organise a grand demonstration in front of Karachi Press Club and use the modern technological tool “Skype” for information sharing across the border.
 Finally, a committee was formed for the efficient working of the South Asian Labour Forum (SALF). The members of this committee are given as under:
 
1) Latif Mughal 2) Noor Muhammad 3) Jannat Khan 4) Rehana Yasmeen 5) M. Jaffer 6) Yousuf Khattak. Mr. M.Qawee from PILER would act as Secretary of this committee.

Participants of the meeting were Noor Muhammad from Pakistan Workers Confederation, M. Jaffer from Muttahida Labour Federation Pakistan, Latif Mughal from Peoples Labour Federation, M. A. Warsi from Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign, Jannat Khan from Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign, Manzoor Razi from Railway Workers Union, Rehana Yasmeen from Hosiery Garments Textile and General Workers Union Sindh, Mirza Maqsood from Power Looms Workers General Union, Abdul Shakoor from Power Looms Workers General Union, Sher Ahmed from Hosiery Garments Textile and General Workers Union Sindh, Noor Muhamad from Hosiery Garments Textile and General Workers Union Sindh, Rustam from Hosiery Garments Textile and General Workers Union Sindh, Sohail Raza from Textile Looms Workers General Union, Muhammad Anwar from Textile Looms Workers General Union, Gul Rehman from SITE Labour Forum, Shireenzada from Wattan Dost Mazdoor Federation, Yousuf Khatak from Child and Labour Rights Welfare Organisation (CLRWO), Saeed Baloch from Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Manzoor Badayuni from Peoples Labour Bureau, Mohsin Raza from Water Board Union, Shahzad Shah, Zaheer Abbas, Abbas Haider, M. Qawee, Nayyar Ahmed Siddiqui, Farhat Fatima, Shujauddin Qureshi, Sharafat Ali, and Karamat Ali from PILER.
Regards,

M. Qawee
PILER