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Pakistan railways arethe oldest union in Pakistan. Union is founded by great leader Late Mirza Mohammad Ibrahim Founder of trade union in Indo-Pak in 1948. Famous Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz was the 1st elected Office Secretary of the Union.
Railway Worker's Union (Open Lines) is the second largest industry-wise trade union of Pakistan. It represents over 98,000 railway workers all over in Pakistan. It is the affiliate of International Transport Workers' representing more than 152 countries in different categories of transport. It is also an affiliate of All Pakistan Trade Union Federation.
Current management of trade union is:
(Manzoor Ahmed Razi) Chairman
(Ashiq Husain Chaudhary) President
(Muhammad Naseem Rao) General Secretary
(Muhammad Anwer Gujjar) Chief Organizer
Railway union played an important role for constructing Pakistan railways. In the late 1990s, new government emphasized to privatize the Pakistan railways and starts the process of privatization. in 1997, when the prime minister asked Shahid Javed Burki, a former senior official of the World Bank, to prepare a report on Pakistan Railways. Some short, medium and long term steps were suggested for privatization of Pakistan railways. World Bank suggested to close all its non-profitable sections and stations. Services like hospitals, schools, sports centers, hostels and clubs were recommended to be sold or leased out. A workshop on restructuring and reform, held to prepare an action plan, was largely attended by railway consultants and experts, but no trade union leader was invited.
The state reduced the workforce from 113,000 in 1998 to 98,000 in 2011.
Travelling facilities and allowances as well as paid overtime have been halved.
Most hospitals and schools have been sold or leased.
As a result of these implementation Pakistan railway faced a huge loss such as:
Decrease in production
Cut in workers benefits, such as education and health facilities.
Railway real estate was used for generating revenue
Highly paid consultants and private managers were hired
A reduction in the size of the workforce
Railway workers' Union (Open Lines) does not agree with the theory of privatization. The state should subsidize the poor as well as providing employment but the "restructuring" of railways has been designed for the growth of ministers and transport mafia. The union believes that much of the railways' financial crisis can be easily solved by reducing expenditures on bureaucracy and consultants.
During the martial law regime, because of its struggle for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan. Since 1982, no opportunity has been given to railway employees to elect their representatives.
At present, Railway Workers' Union is a large representative union of railway workers in Open Lines, having a total membership of 55,000. In august 2010, the union started a campaign through seminars and workshops to educate railway workers. The aim is to organize and attract more than 28,000 railway workers, not only in Open Lines but also in other railway related outsourced activities or departments.90 per cent of railway lines were declared of military interest and therefore railway staff employed to work on these lines were prohibited to take part in trade union activities. so workers were unorganized and the state implements a rules and laws.
In 2005, Railway Workers' Union marched against the ban of trade unions, organized strikes and took all steps to restore trade union activities, but their struggle has been suppressed. During General Pervez Musharraf regime, between 2000 and 2006, more than 4,500 trade union activists were removed and or dismissed from service and about 5,000 have been transferred to other places.
Pakistan railways union continuing its struggle. The new democratic government has lifted the ban and allowed trade union activities Pakistan Railway Workers' Union has submitted to railway Management a list of problems which was facing by workers.
Code of Conducts:
The Code of Conduct is based on pak railways corporate values:
Some of code of are as follows:
Every employee in an organization has right to join a union of his choice
There shall be regular and democratic election of executive bodies and office bearers of trade union.
There shall be no violence, correction or personal fight in inter union dealing.
Communisilam and provincialism shall be forbidden by the union
There shall be no dual membership of union.
Employee representatives should be elected/designated in accordance with the appropriate trade union Rules and procedures.
The number of employee representatives should be reasonable having regard to the size of the undertaking or establishment concerned.
The number of trade union members employed and the structure of trade union organization within the undertaking or establishment.
Management Of Trade Union:
Management of pak rail union is playing an important role in Pakistan railways. Now scenario is that Govt and some corrupt ministers are trying to privatize railway and trying to sell the railway real state. Leaders of all the key trade unions of Pakistan Railways while opposing the privatization of the organization have demanded restructuring of its management by inducting professional managers: providing funds for repair and purchase of locomotive and making railway profitable through transportation of cargo in the country.
The trade union leaders were speaking at a national consultation on Pakistan Railways Problems 'Planning and Strategy" jointly organized by Planning Commission and Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research PILER at PILER Centre. Trade union leaders from all departments of Pakistan Railway attended the consultation. Management of trade union rejected the idea of privatization or dividing PR into various components. They suggested introducing changes in Railways Act according to needs of time. The Act was enacted in 1890 and needs revision through parliament. Trade Unions should be given representation at the board and management levels. New legislation should be made according to ILO conventions and new laws are made to make PR a commercially viable organization.
The workers representatives termed the Railway Police as a burden on the organization and a cause of the rampant corruption and financial losses. They demanded to abolish Railway Police.
They suggested that a financial package for Pakistan Railways be announced which may include writing off all the loans and interest against PR and appointment of professionals at the management level. They criticized the role of private sector in Pakistan Railway, who has caused financial losses to the organization on many occasions in the past. Union leaders said that Pakistan Railways needs to focus on provision of facilities to common people. They said privatization of Pakistan Railways would be quite different from the privatization of other state owned organizations. They said Chinese model of creating a competition is quite successful, which we can be applied in Pakistan. Private sector may be allowed to run their trains besides PR's own trains on the same track in the country. The track and other facilities should own by the state.
Responsibilities of Trade Union:
It is responsibility of pak railways union toto work within the law.
It is responsibility of pak railways union to listen to members views or what they want
It is responsibility of pak railways union To keep their members informed.
It is also in the responsibilities of pak railways union not to pressurize non-members to join the union.
It is responsibility of pak railways union to make the secrecy of Ballots votes.
It is in responsibility of pak railways union not to make UN reasonable demands to management or state.
It is in responsibility of pak railways union to report workers problems to the representatives
It is in responsibility of pak railway union to take action if problem was not solved.
It is in responsibility of pak railway union to help workers in improving levels of production, productivity, discipline and high standard of living.
Processes and Procedures:
Relationship with Management:
Pak railways union is not satisfied with the work of pak rail management. Authorities of pak rail were involved in the cases of corruption. The Railway Workers Union (Open Line) held a protest demonstration outside Railway Station against the anti-people. Dozens of union workers chanted slogans against divisional officers, the international financial institutions and the federal bureaucracy. The union leaders said that the corporatization and planned privatization of state enterprises such as Pakistan Railways is being pushed by the Railways officers that are content to make money through gimmicks such as private-public partnership and various other forms of subcontracting. Unions are demanding a referendum from last one year but management is not ready to take any action that helps pak rail to come out from financial problems, no open election since the mid-1980s.
Effects of trade union activities on Workmen and Management:
Pak railways union played an important in developing of pak rail
Effects of trade union on workmen:
Provided job security of their members
Offered work-related services
Provided better working conditions in critical and undeveloped areas.
Protect workers against unfair dismissal and other issues relating to employment.
Protect and improved their real incomes of their members through political process
Developed schools and colleges and improved the health facilities for their members.
Provided a negotiations machinery to employees
Improved the morale of employees
Pak railways union provided a platform for self expression of employees
Pak railways built a marriage halls for workers ,which is tonally free
Effects of trade union activities on Management
Management of pak rail was involved in the cases of corruption. but after the dissolving of trade union in pak railways ,tend of corruption is going to decrease because of check in balance.
Management of trade union rejected the idea of privatization or dividing PR into various components and fires those divisional officers who were in the favor of privization of rail.
Union criticized the role of private sector in Pakistan Railway, who has caused financial losses to the organization on many occasions in the past and open cases on those higher management who are hiring a contract based workers.
The trade union leaders termed the political interference in the affairs of PR, lack of accountability and uncontrolled corruption by Management as the major factors of the downslide of the railways.
In 2009 pak railway union leaders proposed a formula that PR can easily become profitable in two yeas if the corruption is plugged in and its assets are properly utilized by the management
IN 2006 Railway Management purchased Chinese engines and coaches who developed faults with in two years and majority of them are non-functional. Even the 30 year old engines imported from the USA and Europe are still in operation, after the lift of ban from trade union, union management files a Sui against management who are involved in purchasing engines and coaches.
Railway union developed a process a two way communication in pak railways ,after this management can easily know the background and statement of the problem.
Union plays an important role to decease in aggressive attitude towards management as a result of government legislation and uncertainty.
Historical event of that trade union in which the union had participative and achieved some thing for work force.
In 2011 Railway worker unions on the move when 20,000 jobs was under threat - protesting workers forced the authorities to retreat ,In June 2012 after the powerful demonstration and rally for more then two weeks the railway authorities were forced to retreat and they announced that not a single worker would be sacked. But the planned loss of 40trains is still going ahead.. The threat of immediate job losses might have gone for time being.
In August 2012 trade union leaders announce to shut down all the offices of private and contract based management, because they are trying to privatize the railway with the help of federal ministers. This victory will give more confidence and courage to the railway union workers for future battles.
This is not the first time that railway workers have forced the authorities to retreat through their determined and courageous struggle. In PML-N government led by Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s planned to privatize the railways but union workers struggled to stop privatization. During this struggle thousands of workers continued their protest movement throughout the country for more than one month.
The present PPP led government is again trying to include the railways on the list of planned privatizations and wants to axe thousands of jobs. But union leaders and management hires a consultant and files a Sui against the management of pak rail.
in 2011 railway union file sui against railways management ,then court ordered to audit all the financial accounts and administrative expenditure
Court find that, railways around the world spending 8-10 % is the norm for administrative expenditure but in Pakistan Railways administrative expenditures amount is about 40-45%.
Due to high level of corruption by management and ministers, railways unable to give salaries to workers in time, now railways union decide to hire an auditor and check all the financial accounts for after every six months.
Railways union is also decided to open a railways bank with the help of International Transport Workers union representing more than 152 countries in different categories of transport. Due to this pak railways able to give salaries workers in time and can invest money in different sectors.