Pakistan News

Workers want parliamentary debate on sell-off

Workers want parliamentary debate on sell-off

LAHORE: A large number of power sector workers took to the streets across the country on Wednesday to protest against the government plan to privatise profitable companies of Wapda ‘at the behest of IMF and the World Bank’.

Gathered under the banner of the All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) at Peshawar, Mardan, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Sukkur, Larkana, Hyderabad, Quetta and other cities, the protesters sought revamp of Wapda management instead of handing over its control to business tycoons as the experiment of privatising the Karachi Electric Supply Company had not borne fruit.

In Lahore, the workers gathered outside the press club and marched up to Chief Minister House where they staged a sit-in.

Speaking on the occasion, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Secretary General I.A. Rehman assured all-out support to the workers for their struggle against privatisation. He urged the government to hold a dialogue with representatives of the CBA union over the issue before making any further move in this regard.

A resolution passed on the occasion asked the government to allocate sufficient resources to build new hydel and thermal powerhouses in the public sector to overcome the electricity shortfall.

Presented by Union Secretary General Khurshid Ahmed along with National Bank Employees Union’s Akbar Ali Khan and All Pakistan Trade Union Federation President Chaudhry Anwar, the resolution urged the prime minister to present the proposed privatisation policy of state-owned enterprises before the National Assembly and Senate for debate.

It demanded that workers and engineers should be given an opportunity to present their view before any decision on handing over the control of state-owned companies to the private members of board of directors who had not invested even a single rupee.

Another resolution sought energy conservation through closure of markets and commercial centres at 8pm and sought security for the field staff deployed to detect power theft or recover dues.

Khurshid Ahmed urged the provincial governments to ensure implementation of labour laws, besides provision of social security, old-age benefits, safety and healthcare facilities to workers.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015

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