KARACHI - A representative gathering of the labour here on Saturday expressed serious concerns over the plan of the federal government to privatise the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). They demanded that the government stop this plan because this will result in joblessness of thousands of employees.

Speaking at a provincial consultation of the National Labour Council (Sindh) at PILER Centre, labour leaders condemned the government’s plan for privatization of the key public sector organizations. They pointed out that hundreds of thousands of workers had lost their jobs as a result of privatization of state-owned industrial and commercial units since 1990s.

The consultative meeting was presided over by senior trade union leader Habibuddin Junaidi and addressed by labour leaders, including Karamat Ali and others.

Privatization has never given positive results to the economy and internationally privatization has been stopped, a speaker pointed out. The economists are unanimous in their views that privatization has harmed the economies of the world.

“We understand that privatization is not in favour of the country as most of the privatized units were either closed down or still working in losses,” said a resolution passed at the meeting.

They also resolved to start a resistance movement against the privatization across the country. The trade union representatives underlined the need for compliance of labour standards of International Labour Organisation (ILO) including right to association and collective bargaining. All labour related facilities should be provided to all workers universally.

They expressed contentment that the European Union has extended the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus scheme. In case the scheme is suspended by the European Union, there is a fear that thousands of export-oriented industries will close down and hundreds of thousands of workers will lose their jobs.

The resolution demanded that the provincial government of Sindh take practical steps to implement the Sindh Labour Policy announced recently and make all necessary amendments to the labour laws. It said the provincial assembly should make them more effective. The labour leaders pointed out that majority of the workers in both industrial and services sectors are employed through third-party contract system.

The meeting expressed concern over political crisis in the country and said that workers fully supported the democratic process and defy any threat to the political institutions. They demanded that parliament should be made true representative body and all sections of the society, including labour and women, should be provided representation in the legislative bodies. There is a need for true electoral reforms and changes in the relevant laws. Besides, economic reforms and land reforms should be introduced in the country, they said. The meeting formed two committees, one headed by Liaqat Sahi, to prepare constitution of the National Labour Council and another led by Asad Iqbal Butt, to chalk out a strategy for a resistance movement against privatization.