Government employees continue protest in Islamabad

 Thousands of workers including lady health workers are demanding wage rise 

The different trade unions and government employees associations including All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA), Lady Health Workers, PIA workers, pensioners and various worker organisations staged a joint sit-in in front of Parliament House today against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and government ‘anti-worker’ policies.

The workers are also concerned about the plan to reform the government pensions and employment. There is strong resentment against the proposed changes in the service structure of government employees.

Thousands of workers gathered in Islamabad to voice their various demands relating to their terms of employment, and record their protest against low salaries and rising inflation.

Hundreds of lady health workers are also participating to push for their demands. The sit-in started in the morning and continues till the filling of this report.

When the demonstrators gathered at D-Chowk tried to move on to Parliament House, they were prevented by police. However, they broke the barricades and managed to proceed ahead.

Protesters, who have vowed to continue their sit-in until their demands are fulfilled, are holding placards and banners demanding changes to the service structure increase in pensions, life insurance, salary increases and protection in the anti-polio campaign.

This is the second protest by government workers to take place this month. The previous sit-in was organised on October 04 in which thousands of workers took part. They have mainly demanded in a rise in compensation to deal with the soaring prices of commodities. Some also demanded an end to privatisation of institutions and lay-offs.

Some people were seen demonstrating against the rise in prices of essential commodities by displaying food items to mark their protest.

The government didn’t raise the wages, pensions and different allowances in the budget in June. The government employees are protesting against this decision.

On the occasion, female protestors demanded up-gradations in their scales, an increase in salaries, and allowances. “Our salaries should be increased in proportion to inflation and all our daily wage workers should be regularized,” they added.

Lady Health Workers said that they earlier tried to convey their views to the government by holding demonstrations in the respective areas. “However, the government representatives did not listen to us and we were forced to reach Islamabad’s D-Chowk,” they remarked.

Some also demanded an end to privatisation of institutions and lay-offs. The protesters also demanded a 150 percent increase in salaries and in medical and convention allowances.

Protestors, belonging to PTCL, claimed that on July 12, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ruled in their favor that pension should be given to the retired employees of PTCL. “However, we have not been given pension even after 5 years,” they added.

                                                          Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor


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