Pakistan: Nestle Kabirwala workers struggle against brutal management

The workers at the Nestle plant in Kabirwala are waging a relentless struggle against brutal management which has the support of the local administration, and services of hired goons and yellow press journalists along with huge amounts of money. The workers only have one weapon which is their unity!

Nestle_July_2011-2Nestle's Kabirwala plant is one of the largest dairy plants in Asia. It makes billions of Rupees profit every year. But no one knows of the plight of the workers of Nestle Kabirwala because it has been hidden for a long time. The workers are living in extremely difficult conditions and there live barely hand to mouth. With every passing day it is becoming harder for the workers to get their bread and butter for themselves and their family. Even after working 10 to15 years in the company they do not hold a permanent employee status.

Whoever raises a voice against the brutality of the Nestle' management is immediately terminated from the company. After a long time of bearing this repression at last a few courageous workers have decided to stand up for their rights and have filed a petition in the Labor Court for their rights. They demanded permanent employee status and their remaining dues. After hearing from both sides the court ordered the factory management not to terminate or stop the salaries of the workers.

Nestle management was angered by this step of the workers and started brutalizing them more furiously to push the workers to withdraw their cases from the court. Management filed false cases against the workers and got them arrested on the factory premises. The workers held a peaceful demonstration in front of the factory and after regular strikes by the workers got the arrested workers freed. Later the police harassed the workers to get them to cancel their cases against the Nestle management. Nestle management also hired some goons from the nearby area to threaten the workers but the workers did not budge. Factory management gave the goons factory cards so they could mix freely with the workers. These paid goons in the guise of workers were directed to create a mess to show the court that the workers were violating the law. But they failed to succeed in their plan as police was called by the workers in time to avoid any violent act. CBA Union President, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, was also threatened by  management and was told to quit the protests.

Some journalists of the Kabirwala Press Club were bribed to spread misinformation against the CBA Union and to create the bad reputation for the workers among the public. During this period the court confirmed the stay order but Nestle management refused to accept the court order. 58 workers were terminated without any reason and notice, while on the other hand the bribed journalists continued their false propaganda against the movement.

Nestle_July_2011-1After termination of 58 workers, the workers protested peacefully in front of the factory gate but despite restoring them, management terminated a further 33 workers on 9 June simply because of their support for the terminated workers. During this period the factory administration also challenged the stay order by the Labor Court in Lahore Applet tribunal. But the tribunal has not given any order against the labor court's judgment. The case is still being heard. Against the illegal terminations of the workers, a protest was called on 10 June in Kabirwala City.

On 12 June the workers inside the Nestle plant went on strike and stopped production for 7 hours, after which management started negotiations but still the job status and other pending dues are not settled.

The PTUDC supports the Nestle workers in the struggle for their rights and their demands that are:

  1. Permanent employment status for all employees,
  2. Sufficient increment in salaries linked to inflation,
  3. Immediate payment of pending dues.

Long Live Workers Unity!

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