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Press advisory: Update on Pakistan Airlines boycott

19 May 2006

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.

Following on from the demonstration that launched the boycott there will be further protests on
• Saturday 20 May from 11.00 to 13.00 at the PIA office, Unit 1, Broadgate House, Manor Row Bradford, BD1 4NL.
• Tuesday 23 May from 12:00 to 13:00 at the PIA office, 44 Dover Street, London W1S 4DB. Before this, at 11:30 the Secretary and Asst Secretary of the ITF's Civil Aviation Section will deliver a letter of protest to the Pakistan Embassy. Pakistan Embassy 35-36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN


For more information contact ITF press officer, Sam Dawson.
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7940 9260.
Email: dawson_sam@itf.org.uk

International Transport Workers' Federation - ITF:
ITF House, 49 - 60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DS
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7375 7871
Email: mail@itf.org.uk
Web: www.itfglobal.org

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