A two-year struggle at the oil and gas multinational Shell in Pakistan has ended in 300 permanent contracts for IndustriALL members.
In face of management resistance and appeals, the victory has been achieved by IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliate PCEM, the Pakistan Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine, and General Workers’ Union.
Around 300 workers from Shell Pakistan’s Lubricant Plant in Karachi first applied for registration in 2013 for the Insaf Shell Pakistan Workers Union. In 2014 the registration office in capital Islamabad received an appeal from the company management for the union’s registration to be cancelled on the grounds that the 300 contract workers were not officially Shell employees.
The PCEM supported the 300 contract workers to file for their regularization before the national industrial relations commission in Karachi. Their case for regularized contracts will now be strengthened following the decision of the trade union registrar. There are only 59 permanent employees at Shell Pakistan, and around 500 employed on a contractual basis.
PCEM President Imran Ali, who is also chair of the IndustriALL national council in Pakistan, reports:
“Shell Pakistan's management was not accepting them as workers of Shell Pakistan and therefore saying that they don't have rights to form a union or to participate in any union activity, but with the support of PCEM these workers were able to register a union. And on 16 July 2015 Pakistan’s trade union registrar dismissed the management's appeal.”
The newly formed Shell Pakistan Workers’ Union will now participate in bargaining a new collective bargaining agreement, and become members of the PCEM.
IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan states:
Our PCEM Brothers are on the front line of the global struggle against precarious work. We are proud of this victory and the union will continue win the employment conditions Pakistani workers are entitled to.