11 August, 2022Over 40,000 power loom workers in Faisalabad responded to a call for a strike to demand social security cover and an increase in wages. The workers, who have been on strike since 1 August, have also been demonstrating on the streets of Faisalabad where over one million workers are employed in power looms.
The workers responded to a call for a strike given by IndustriALL affiliates Pakistan Textile, Garments and Leather Workers Federation (PTGLWF) and Ittehad Labour Union Carpet Industries Pakistan (ILUCIP) also known as Textile and Power loom workers Federation.
On 26 March, the government announced a 17 per cent raise in the wages for power loom workers, with effect from 1 July. Despite the government mandated raise and several letters and representations from unions, the owners did not increase the wages. The power loom owners closed about 450 units in response to the demands of the power loom workers on 26 July.
However, the district administration in the pretext of resolving the issue is pressurising union leaders to call off the strike and orders prohibiting assembly have been issued. Despite these actions, the union leaders and striking workers are standing strong and have resolved that the strike will continue until employers pay better wages.
Nadeem Parwaz, General Secretary of PTGLWF said:
“The workers are using a strike which is their right in law as the legally mandated wages are not being paid. Inflation in Pakistan this year is at an all-time high. The government has withdrawn all subsidies and increased the prices of electricity, gas, petroleum and almost all household items, following the demand of the International Monetary Fund. Power loom workers have no choice but to strike for the payment of their wages.”
Apoorva Kaiwar, IndustriALL regional secretary for South Asia says:
“We support the power loom workers’ strike and urge the employers and local authorities in Faisalabad to respect workers right to strike, freedom of association, and to be paid living wages.”