Pakistán - National database denies union rights to thousands of workers

The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) — a department of the Interior Ministry — marked Labour Day by denying its nearly 17,000 workers their fundamental right to form a union. NADRA refused to recognise the All Pakistan NADRA Employee’s Union (APNEU), which it considered illegal and unofficial, stating that any activity through this platform was ‘liable to be prosecuted as per law’.
On 30 April NADRA employees protested in Karachi to demand union recognition. The response of management was to issue a circular which said, “All NADRA employees fall under Essential Services Group. Under Article 7-A of Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952, NADRA employees are prohibited to participate in any activity through the platform of labour union under the Industrial Relations Act.” Any violation would be liable to imprisonment for up to one year including a fine.
The unofficial union’s general secretary, Salman Zuberi, said they had succeeded in registering the NADRA employees union through the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC), but NADRA management had appealed to the Islamabad High Court to rule against it and the matter was pending in court.
In the ongoing dispute between the workers and management, another leader of NADRA resigned from his post over the issue. The official had been playing the role of a mediator between the workers and management.

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