Imminent downsizing: Government workers protest against privatisation

Threatens to march to Islamabad and stage sit-in outside Parliament House.

The council members held a protest at Jinnah Park. They later staged a sit-in outside the provincial assembly building, blocking traffic for several hours. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: All Government Employees Coordination Council (AGECC) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has condemned privatisation plans for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and protested against the lack of a new service structure.

The council members held a protest at Jinnah Park on Wednesday, after which they also staged a sit-in outside the provincial assembly building, blocking traffic for several hours. They presented a seven-point charter of demands, which included upgrading the time scale of clerical staff and a hike in allowances. The employees demanded the K-P government to stop the privatisation of the municipal corporation and other government sectors.

AGECC Central President, Muhammad Aslam Khan, announced another protest on April 22 in front of the Parliament House in Islamabad. Government employees from across the province will participate in the protest, said Aslam, adding that AGECC would also march towards Islamabad if the government does not stop the process.

“If the government is really interested in enhancing the efficiency of public organisations,” said Aslam, “the best course of action is to do away with all kinds of political interference in their operations. These institutions have regularly been used by politicians for fulfilling their personal interests, which has destroyed almost all SOEs.”

“What benefits has the government accrued from previous cases of privatisation of several other organisations?” questioned AGECC General Secretary Gohar Taj, claiming that all such organisations are still sustaining huge losses.

Taj said public organisations are established to improve the overall welfare of society and should be allowed to work for that purpose. He claimed that privatisation will lead to the downsizing of organisations, leading to an increase in unemployment, which the council will not tolerate.

Employees of Pakistan Railways, Water and Power Development Authority, Civil Aviation Authority, National Database and Registration Authority, municipal administrations, public school teachers, paramedics and others were present on the occasion.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2014.


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