|War against the privatisation of WAPDA (Water And Power Development Authority) Pakistan|
|Written by PTUDC|
|Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00|
After the PTCL workforce, now it is
the workers of WAPDA who are faced with the prospect of
privatisation. Such a measure would be detrimental to the interests
not only of the WAPDA workers but of all the workers and poor of
Pakistan. The PTCL workers put up a brave fight but were let down by
the union leaders. Let this not happen again!
Today we are living in a period of
human history where life is extremely difficult and the ruling
classes are throwing the working class into extreme conditions to
make more and more profits. Employed people are being thrown into the
quagmire of unemployment. We have the example of the workers of the
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) before us, where
the ruling classes have done the same thing.
However, the resistance put up by the workers of the PTCL against privatisation was enormous. At one stage, the government was helpless before the power of the workers, but this privatisation could not be stopped due to the betrayal of the leadership of the PTCL unions.
We must learn from the experience of the PTCL workers. As far as the power of the workers of WAPDA is concerned, it is much stronger than that of the PTCL workers. If WAPDA is privatised first of all it will have devastating effects on its workers and along with them the 150 million poor people of Pakistan, amongst whom a majority already live below the poverty line. So the question is: is this privatisation to the benefit of the workers?
We must understand that instead of making life easier the developments in science and technology are making life bitter for the masses. The ruling class wants to snatch the rights that the working class has gained after years of long struggle. These rights include the right to permanent employment, the right to a pension, the right to free health care, the right to free education and other similar rights. The rulers are encouraging the policies of contract labour and temporary day labour. In this way all the gains of the workers will come to an end.
Is privatisation the only problem in Pakistan?
Privatisation is not the problem in just one department, sector of the economy or in any one country. At the present time this is an international problem. You must be well aware of the current strikes of the youth and workers in France, who are demonstrating against a new law according to which employers will have the power to sack them without any notification. The government of Pakistan also follows the dictates of its foreign masters. Eitesalat is threatening to back off from its takeover of the PTCL. They are being begged not to and Eitesalat is taking advantage of this and all of its demands are being approved. One of the cruellest demands is to get rid of half the workers of the PTCL.
After privatising WAPDA the use of electricity will only be a dream for the people. Furthermore, many workers will be sacked and many families will lose their only earning hand. The situation is the same with Sui Gas, Pakistan Steel Mills, the banks and other companies and sectors.
Solution to the Problem
A lot of ignorant labour leaders are preaching to us that we should depoliticise our struggle and solve the problem through negotiations. Will you stop defending your interests simply because of the beautiful and great words of the labour leaders? The capitalist system is based on profit. To raise the rate of profit the wages of the workers are being cut. Through privatisation the foundations are being laid to exploit the working class by making fewer workers do more work.
In this situation this problem cannot be solved by negotiations, but through the class struggle. It is a class problem where the life of one class is the death of the other. As long as this system exists, a tiny minority will extract its wealth from the majority of society. Unless this system is abolished the everyday problems of the workers cannot be solved. Only through the methods of the class struggle can the workers get rid of this system. This class war cannot be fought in one department or one company alone. The workers in all departments and companies are facing the same problems. If privatisation is a problem facing the workers of WAPDA then it is also the problem of the workers of PTCL, Sui Gas, the banks, Pakistan Steel Mills, the railways, the cement factories and other departments.
As a result of privatisation downsizing is also a problem facing the whole working class. This is why the slogans demanding that we depoliticise our struggle are false. We must enter the political arena and employ the methods of the class struggle. Unless we do this we will not defeat the capitalist system. The workers of WAPDA can demonstrate that it is the working class that has power in society. If the workers of WAPDA stop working, not a single light bulb will shine in the whole country. If the workers of the PTCL stop working, not a single telephone will ring in Pakistan. The same goes for the railway workers, and Pakistan International Airways. If they stop working no one in Pakistan will be able to travel.
Dear working comrades!
We are not weak. If we can get just a feeling of our power then we will be able to move towards nationalisation – but not nationalisation under bureaucratic control but under the democratic control of the workers. When there is no unemployment nobody will die due to the lack of healthcare facilities and no child will remain illiterate due to lack of education. Only then can we rise above the national, religious and linguistic hatreds and build genuine class unity to fight the class war against the capitalists and get rid of this cruel and unjust capitalist system.
This is not a dream it is a reality.
This leaflet is also available in Urdu at www.struggle.com.pk
The Struggle continues!