Karachi: Pakistani labors today brave worse condition that the Chicago workers of the year 1886 said a prominent labor leader on the eve of May Day.
Nasir Mansoor, Deputy General Secretary National Trade Union Federation said this year the 127th May Day is being observed amid a deepening capitalist crisis and social turmoil all over globe. The struggle aimed at improving the working hours of labors has now become a drive to slay the dragon of capitalism for good.
He said like past the crisis of capitalism is also deepening with every passing day, casting its negative impacts of social, economic and political spheres in every region. The countries of Europe and North America in general and southern European countries of Italy, Spain, Portugal , Cyprus and Greece in particular have been trapped in this economic quagmire and the biggest project of imperialism of last century unity and survival of the European Union is on the stake. The spillovers of the unprecedented economic crisis of developed industrial countries have entered Asia, Africa and Latin America, tumbling their economies and upsetting their societies with chaos and economic decline. The weak and dying economies are giving birth to more crises with every passing day. Before an old problem could be fixed a new issue emerges, making the situation even more complex and critical. This is the inborn dilemma of imperialism, new face of capitalism that instead of settling issues it creates bigger and more critical issues, making matters worse.
He said tt is logical that the imperialist countries impose wars in a bid to seek rid of these crises. In this regard we see imposing on poor nations of a prolonged, unending, declared and undeclared third world war. Occupying the natural resources of nations, especially fuel resources and lands with use of brutal force is now an open secret. In some cases where there existed effective and strong governments and economies having some ability to resist coercion, they were vanished with the use of naked force. Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Iraq are some examples in this regard. Due to its important geostrategic location and immense mineral resources the capitalist countries targeted Afghanistan and through conspiracies first blood bathed it’s “peoples’ April revolution” and now this country is under the American yoke that occupies this nation, leading military forces of some two dozen countries. The same fate is being now suggested for Iran, Syria and North Korea.
Mansoor said in Pakistan also the ongoing economic crisis is linked to this phenomenon. Here from the military dictatorship era of General Musharraf to the expected elections for a new government the economic experts of World Bank and International Monetary Fund IMF have been given a free hand to continue implementation of their dictated economic policies and the situation is likely to continue in future as well. It is not surprising that these policies have poisoned the lives of people especially the working class, as it was the logical outcome of these anti people strategies.
The floodgate of unemployment has been wide opened by opening the local market for foreign made goods. Liberal incentives given to big landlords and industrialists commanding immense “means of production” have unveiled the hollowness of local economy. In the field of agriculture the economic efficiency has already been halted. Millions of farmers are facing the worst poverty despite of steep rise in prices of wheat, paddy, cotton and other agricultural produces. The result is frequent suicides and mass migration to big towns and cities, giving birth to new social and cultural crises.
He said ravages of rains and floods of previous years have further multiplied the suffering of peasants and farmers and they have been facing immense hardships in repaying loans of their landlords.
In Pakistan both industrial workers and farm labors are facing even worse conditions as compared to the plights of the Chicago workers. For them there are no fixed work hours. The production capacity of machines has improved thousand times due to constant modernization but the working conditions of Pakistani factories and workshops are pathetically unsafe and inhuman. Last year, in Karachi, the largest city of the country, more than 300 workers perished in a garment factory fire, which shows that the workers of this largest industrial city are no more than a modern day slave, deprived of all basic legal rights.
He said in the industrial and commercial organizations not only the economic rights of labors have been usurped but also their political and constitutional rights which they should have enjoyed under different national and international labor laws. Illegal labor contracting system “Thekedari” is a poison tipped dagger in the back of semidead Pakistani labor movement. The labor department and labor courts have been virtually converted into slaughterhouses where capitalists and government bureaucracy sell the bodies of halfalive labors. The social security institutions like Employees’ Old Age Benefits Institution EOBI and Workers’ Welfare Board instead of facilitating workers have become a handy tool of corrupt bureaucracy and fake labor leaders to loot and plunder the funds meant for workers’ wellbeing.
It is a part of national history that the labors and peasants of Pakistan have been used as the cannon fodder in the agitations against military regimes; however, whenever democracy is restored its benefits instead of trickling down to workers, farmers and common employees remained limited to rich classes sitting in parliament and centers of power.
He said presently there are more than 54million workforce in Pakistan, about 29percent of national population, vital force for the production process, but the ruling elite and their political parties have no solid strategy to solve their issues. He said if one analyses the advertisement blitz of these political parties on television and in print media the voice of labor is seen unheard.
He said it is true that democracy historically is the creation of industrial era and its first step is the rights of union making at workplace. Though this right is there in legal books, but the ruling elite irrespective of their political affiliation is not ready to recognize it. Today in Pakistan hardly 3% workers enjoy their right of union making, and just 5percent of them are registered with social security institutions though the majority of them do not posses cards of these institutions. Only 4percent of workers posses written appointment orders and just 5percent workforce get the minimum wages as announced by the government, while 95% factories are not registered under Factory Act of 1934 and have been running illegally.
He asked when the basic units of democracy, i.e. factory and farm workers, are devoid of their democratic right, could true democratic values survive and strengthen in this society. It is a bitter fact that the usurpers of the basic right of workers are not only local leaders of these parties but also they occupy their higher offices. Therefore, it is a high time of a honest soul searching for the working class that how these bourgeoisie parties when elected could deliver for labors when their leaders and representative themselves are the worst exploiters of workers, peasants and Haris.
He said to get rid of the exploiters of labors it is imperative for the millions of workers of mills, workshops and farms to establish their own class based entities, i.e. labor organizations, HariKissan committees, associations of employees and other organizations and make them organized and finally establish their own nationwide class based political party and initiate struggle for the collective ownership of means of production, it means socialization of the wealth.
He said only the struggle of working classes could bring the international crisis of capitalism to its logical end. It would end the imperialism and its reasons for warmongering. It would end the occupation of the wealth of nations, ethnic and regional conflicts, expansionism, bloody wars and massacres.