LAHORE: A large number of Railway Workers Union (CBA-Workshop) and Railway Diploma Holder Federation members held a protest in front of the Railway Carriage and Wagon Workshop here on Thursday, announcing that they will hold a larger protest in front of the Railway Headquarters on March 7th.
The rally demonstrated the growing unity of workers with a single point agenda to ascertain basic wage rights, service structure and worker dignity.
The protest which was attended by workers from the loco shed, powerhouse, steam shop, engine shed, washing lines and IWO, all participating in great numbers. The gathering also saw the participation of students from Progressive Student Collective and People’s Solidarity Forum.
The public gathering was addressed by railway workers union leaders, Sakhi Khan, Ashiq Jehangiri, Mustesehen Javaid, Khursheed Awan, and Diploma Holder Federation’s Ghulam Muhammed and Liaquat Nangania.
Railway Workers leader Sakhi Khan said that the blame for failures in the railways had been placed on unions and workers but there was little accountability of the administration, its history of corruption and incompetence in running the railways. He said that thirty years of empty promises had led to the unity of railway unions and associations.
Sakhi added that a strong stand against anti-worker policies would be taken for the struggle of better work conditions and wages for railway workers.
Ghulam Muhammad of DHF said that the workers will carry out a procession with hundreds of people on bikes and on March 7th at the Railway Headquarters. He said that the current administration had forced them to take the streets and that the unions were working together in hopes that all scales of workers are provided service structures.
Manzoor Hussain of PSF said that the workers had faced some of the most difficult work conditions and it was necessary for all conscious individuals, people, students, workers, women, journalists, and human rights activists to show solidarity with the railway workers.
He lamented that railway workers had a history of struggling against dictatorship and had also been central in the struggle for basic worker rights.