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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 March 2009

Kashmir: Health workers win demands

But further struggle will be needed

HEALTH WORKERS' strike action forced the POK (Pakistani Occupied Kashmir) government, after a week of mass action, to concede to their demands regarding the implementation of pay agreements. (See The Socialist, issue 568)

Jamal Khan, CWI in Kashmir

Although the government has agreed to implement the agreement, experience shows that ruling politicians of every shade tend not to honour agreements reached with workers. Thus, it is vital that the workers' leadership continues to build pressure for the implementation of the agreement. The POK government was also forced to withdraw the so-called 'essential services' law, which had declared the strike illegal!

The workers' indefinite 'lock-out' strike, which began on 14 February, had the support of other public sector workers' organisations.

TURCK (Trade Union Rights Campaign Kashmir) members and supporters played a key role in organising solidarity for the striking health workers across POK. It united workers from other organisations, including education, public works department workers, sanitary, clerical and other workers, who came out in support of the strike.

Under the agreement an assurance was given that the agreed services structure for paramedical staff, supporting staff, staff nurses and allied specialties would be implemented within ten working days.

A six-member committee, comprising of the secretary of services, secretary of health, secretary of finance, director general of health, president of the PSA (Paramedical Staff Association) and a patron of the PSA have been formed to oversee the implementation of the agreement.

Meanwhile, other demands, including regularisation of 369 contract workers, a rural area allowance, a risk allowance and health entitlements, etc, would be implemented within six weeks, by the above committee.

This guarantee has been seen by workers as a first step and further actions will be needed to ensure the implementation of the whole agreement.

The health workers' strike coincided with mass strike action in IOK (Indian Occupied Kashmir) by tens of thousand of workers for demands, including the implementation of pay commission recommendations at parity with federal workers in India.

During the health workers' strike, solidarity was extended to workers across the dividing LoC (Line of Control), to the workers struggling in IOK.

TURCK members and supporters will continue to organise in solidarity with the workers during the coming days and weeks to oversee the implementation of the agreement.

As long as the demands for basic democratic rights, formulation of labour law, labour courts and right to organise trade unions remain, TURCK will continue to struggle for them.

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In The Socialist 4 March 2009:

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RBS pension scandal: Not a penny for these fat cats!

Hands off our post!

Stop Labour's mail sell-off


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Marx was right all along


Socialist Party feature

Has globalisation gone into reverse?

Our democratic rights under attack by Labour


Socialist Students

Anti-fees demo success - despite NUS leaders' obstructions

Cardiff student occupation: University divests from arms trade


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs

The route


Construction workers

Construction workers plan more action

Message from strike leader


Socialist Party workplace news

Stop bullying at BT

Fight the cuts in Nottingham!

Sogefi workers demand strike

NUJ action

Cover supervisors: Teaching on the cheap

National Shop Stewards Network: Brighton launch meeting


Socialist Party women

International Women's Day 8 March: Don't make women pay for the bosses' crisis

Make all women's issues trade union issues

Solidarity with Constantina Kuneva


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: Scrap the 'pension levy': Organise a one-day general strike

Kashmir: Health workers win demands


May Day

Support The Socialist on May Day this year


 

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