Pakistán - Unionists at Pearl Continental dismissed (2011)

Four elected union leaders at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi were illegally dismissed in February. Together with some 200 union members the dismissed officers remained in the hotel basement, and several went on hunger strike. Union members and supporters maintained a vigil outside the hotel, refusing to leave until the dismissals were withdrawn and negotiations begun. On March 1, police assaulted and detained some of the supporters outside the hotel - they were later released following a protest action outside the prison. Workers from the Pearl Continental union in Rawalpindi held regular daily rallies and boycotted meals in the workplace in solidarity with the Karachi struggle.

On 20 March workers ended their occupation after a representative of the hotel’s owner directly intervened in the conflict for the first time ever and agreed to reinstate the four union officers. One of the ill hunger strikers and three other union members were hospitalised. The workers of the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi have been fighting for over seven years for recognition of their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Workers have been dismissed and detained as a result of the struggle, and the ILO has called for a full investigation into the abuses against unionists.

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