Workers at the upscale Pearl Continental hotel in Karachi, Pakistan believed their decade-long struggle for rights and recognition was ended when the courts ordered the reinstatement of dismissed union members and officers. Management, however, refuses to accept life with a union, and with the collusion of the police union members have been suspended, beaten and subject to mass arrests.
Management responded to the union’s demand for collective bargaining negotiations by harassing and dismissing union officers and members and failed to show up for conciliation hearings. On March 13 police raided the hotel and brutally attacked sit-in strikers. More than 50 union members and officers were arrested and taken to the police station; 45 have been charged with legal offenses.
Additional criminal charges were filed against general secretary Ghulam Mehboob and 4 other union officers, who were detained for 14 hours.
The IUF has protested to the hotel’s parent group and to the government, and advised the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association of these fresh violations of fundamental rights.