PTCL Workers Still Protesting – Hundreds Arrested, Still Unheard

The workers of PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation Limited) have been protesting and staging a sit-in at PTCL Headquarter, Islamabad, for the last 12 days on the issue of the fulfillment of the commitments made to them by the management. Their protest has been brutally suppressed by the state and management.

Through a worker we have come to know that the charter of demands presented by the workers to the management consisted of 5 demands:

  1. Increase of 20% in the salaries as announced by the Govt. of Pakistan in Budget 2009
  2. Convenience allowance
  3. Eid Allowance
  4. Rest and Recreation Allowance
  5. Up gradations

PTUDC (Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign) was actively participating and supporting the charter of demands. The comrades from PTUDC were also demanding the cancellation of privatization of PTCL which is the basic reason for all these issues. Comrade Jam Sajjad (Secretary General of PTUDC South Punjab)and a leader of PTCL in Multan were at the forefront during these protests and the sit-in along with Malik Maqbool President of Lines Unity a union of PTCL workers. The management used measures to stop the protests such as stopping the salaries of the protesters, but the workers resolve remained unshaken by the cowardly tactics of the management.

Sensing defeat, the management in collaboration with the State authorities attacked the workers on the night between 30th and 31st August. Police along with Rangers charged the unarmed workers with batons.
Around 200 (or above) workers were arrested and false criminal cases have been brought against them under the anti-terrorism act. Comrade Jam Sajjad and Malik Maqbool were also arrested. With the collaboration of the authorities, the management has kept the whereabouts of the injured and the body of the dead worker secret.

As the news of this state terrorism reached far and across the country, workers of PTCL in large numbers have converged at PTCL Headquarter Islamabad and started a demonstration against the management and state brutality. They are demanding the release of the arrested workers, knowledge of the whereabouts of the injured workers. Strikes and demonstrations have also followed in numerous cities and towns across the country to show solidarity with the workers of PTCL at the Headquarter. A partial Strike was observed in almost all the exchanges and offices of PTCL across the country.

  • First things first, I am a victim of this strike as a customer of PTCL, as Landlines of my office are down for few days now due to this strike, so the sooner it ends the better it would be for me and many other customers like me.

    As a young professional in Pakistan & belonging to telecom industry myself, I personally believe that selling of PTCL to Etisalat was no less than a blunder.

    After all this prelude, my point is, who gives you the right to put one sided views of any situation? I mean “state terrorism” & “state brutality” & “cowardly tactics of the management” are all very strong words and make us believe that there is only one culprit here.

    What about the hundreds of thousands of customers who suffer, the lost revenue etc???

    I myself am not aware of all the fact involved, so cannot comment on the act going on in PTCL, but the matter of the fact is (and I am talking here with first hand experience), these sort of tactics are bull shit, used by unions & CBA to blackmail the employers. Most of the times these union leaders negotiate personal benefits at the cost of collective benefits of those whom they represent.

    PTCL management must live up to the commitments it has made, and has to treat its workforce fairly, the workforce has the right to protest & retaliate if they don’t, but neither is this this right way to do the protest nor is this the right way to react to the protest (arrest & everything),and unfortunately this isn’t the appropriate journalism methodology.

    I would appreciate the fact, if P.P team takes this piece of feedback constructively, and while I am at it, please don’t sensationalize the news & avoid reporting every bit of happening in the operators as a breaking news (I hope you get the point).

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