Rawalpindi-To pay tributes to martyrs of Chicago, labour organisations of the city arranged different seminars and rallies and urged the working class to join hands for their rights.

All Pakistan Workers Confederation brought rally on Murree Road and arranged a workers convention at National Press Club Rawalpindi camp office. Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz, Awami Workers Party, Oil Tankers Association, All Pakistan Hydro-electric Workers Union and Railways Workers Union members attended the convention. In the rally, the participants carried red flags and placards inscribed with slogans for rights of workers and chanted slogans in favour of their demands. Speaking on the occasion, Zafarullah Khan and Akram Bunda urged workers to stand up and be counted for their demands. They said that inflation increased the workers problems as they were getting less salaries and it was not enough to manage their kitchen budgets.

They said that industrial workers were not getting their rights despite tall claims of government. They said that the workers were suffering from financial crises and the government had failed to address their problem and planning to privatize the government organizations. Oil Tankers Association President Aslam Khan said that workers were suffering from problems due to fewer wage. He said that the government should ask banks to give loans so the oil tanker owners would upgrade their tankers.

In Islamabad, the Awami Workers Party (AWP) led a march from the National Press Club to D-Chowk on Wednesday. The marchers called on the government to end anti-poor policies, and rallied to re-politicize May Day and establish an alliance of working classes against neoliberal fundamentalism. The march, with over 300 participants, featured a diverse representation, from feminist organizers to students to informal labourers as well as trade union leadership as they marched to mark 133 years since the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago and set the agenda to lead the labour movement in Pakistan. Ismat Raza Shahjahan, AWP’s Deputy General Secretary and Women Democratic Front’s President, highlighted that May Day was not only a day for organized union labour, which constitutes merely 2% of the total formal labour force, but all those ‘who have to sell their labour power in order to ensure their survival since they do not have rent producing assets or capital, as such May Day is as much about those women who work in homes as domestics and those who work in the textile sector, both in factories and from homes, as well as countless others employed as wage labourers and on limited term contracts in agriculture and the informal service sector’.

Alia Amirali, AWP organizer and gender studies lecturer, addressed the march by highlighting the need to understand how ‘neoliberalism with its mantra of liberalization and deregulation has led to premature deindustrialization, state withdrawal from provision of essential public services, and accompanied by an assault on organized labour through union bashing.

Alia concluded her speech by calling for an end to gender discrimination at work and ‘a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work’.

Kohsar criticised the manner in which CDA abandoned Farash Town where residents lack of piped water, basic sanitation and garbage collection services as such what was supposed to be a model community for former slum dwellers who were moved here from areas around Bari Imam ‘has been turned into a rotting and stinking mess full of flies and mosquitoes where residents are forced to wait for arrival of weekly water tankers’.