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Solidarity action for PIA workers gets off the ground

18 May 2006

PIA Campaign*
Trade unionists in Nepal back the PIA campaign*

Workers around the world have taken up the call for solidarity with their colleagues at Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), following the launch of an ITF consumer boycott against the airline this week. The campaign aims to end the victimisation of workers and their unions.

Building on actions in Great Britain this week, hundreds of unions – from countries such as Bulgaria, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the USA – responded to the ITF’s campaign by sending online protest letters and emails to the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf and to PIA.

Meanwhile, workers in Nepal leafleted passengers on 15 May urging them not to fly PIA until the trade union rights issue had been resolved. Members of the ITF-affiliated union Nepal Yatayat Mazdoor Sangh talked to airline clients and handed them information. A Malaysian union also issued a press statement on the subject.

In Pakistan, leaflets were distributed and the media informed of the campaign on 15 May and, on the following day, a press conference took place at Karachi Press Club. Television interviews and demonstrations are being planned for the rest of the week, including a protest organised by the ITF national coordinating committee on 19 May; a rally is also scheduled for 22 May. Seafarers’ and dockers’ unions have pledged to support the demonstrations.

On 17 May, Senator Raza Rabbani put the issue of the victimisation of employees and the suspension of trade union rights to a senators' meeting.

Representatives of the Air League of PIA Employees distributed leaflets to passengers and PIA staff at Karachi Airport today; this led to the detention of four union officials, who were released two hours later.

In Great Britain, the ITF and its affiliate the Transport and General Workers’ Union are planning a demonstration outside PIA’s offices in central London on 23 May. This will follow the presentation of a protest letter from the ITF to the Pakistani embassy.




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