PWF requests CJP to protect rights of workers, labourers

  • Naseem Iqbal calls any ban on trade unions un-democratic, a violation of fundamental rights

LAHORE: Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) on Monday expressed concerns over the statement of Chief Justice of Pakistan that he would ban the trade unions in the country if they were not permitted by the law.

In a press statement issued here, PWF Punjab president Chaudhry Naseem Iqbal termed the statement un-democratic and a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. He said that the trade unions had many hopes from the Chief Justice of Pakistan that he would protect the rights of workers and labour class.

He said that workers could knock the door of the court if employers violate the rules and rights of the workers. He said that the chief justice was the top custodian of the fundamental rights of the people and the basic pillars of freedom and liberties as demanded by the law. He said that existence of the trade unions was a legal and constitutional requirement and the top court should give all protection to them instead of talking about their abolition.

He said that such an attitude would only support the deeply trenched capitalism and go along to strengthen the iron grip of the capitalists on the working classes. He explained that the right to association was guaranteed by the Article 17 of the constitution imparting on every citizen the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by the law in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan, public order or morality.

Naseem Iqbal underlined the importance of the trade unions and called them blessing for the poor and downtrodden workers. He said that they play pivotal role by promoting and maintaining national integration by reducing the number of the industrial disputes among the workers and the industrialists. In his reference, the PWF leader said that Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was also a strong believer of the trade unions and the democratic institutions in the country, because they protect the interests of the poor working classes.

He recalled that Quaid-e-Azam was elected the president of the All India Postal Staff Union in 1925 which had a membership of 70,000. As a member of the Indian Legislative Assembly for over 35 years, the Quaid played a key role in the enactment of the Trade Union Act, 1926, which provided legal cover to the formation of unions.

He attended the founding session of the All India Trade Union Congress in October 1920. He had personal relationship with the labour leaders of that time, including Lala Lajpat Rai, Dewan Chaman Lal, MM Alvi and Subas Chanderbos. He said that the trade union were the nursery of democracy both for the masses and leaders, and form the basis of healthy electoral process.

Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz General Secretary Shaukat Chaudhary said that the trade unions protect the due rights of the workers. He said that the trade union provides job security and decent work in the industries. These unions were considered major hindrance against physical, mental health and exploitation of the workers, he said. He highlighted the importance of the trade union, saying it plays the role of negotiator between the employer and the worker for the remuneration when production of goods was increased.