Workers across Karachi take to streets over painful price hike

KARACHI: Workers, including an impressive number of women, staged a rally and converged in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Sunday to lodge their protest against record food inflation and unprecedented hike in petroleum prices.The rally was taken out from Regal Chowk to the KPC. It was organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF).

Equating the Inter­national Monetary Fund (IMF) with the East India Company, participants of the rally chanted slogans against the government for adding to miseries of the people.

The rally was led by Zehra Khan, Riaz Abbassi and Aqib Hussain. Prominent among those who spoke were Karamt Ali of the National Labour Council, Saira Feroz of United HB Workers Union, Saeeda Khatoon of the Balida Factory Fire Affecttees Association, Zahid Farooq of Urban Resource Center, Akber Narajo from Progressive Labour Union, Pakistan Steel Mills.

Speaking at the rally, they accused the rulers of being “facilitators and agents of IMF and other global lenders” saying just for $6 billion, Pakistan is being made an “IMF colony”.

They said that the government had pushed the masses to the worst economic crisis. “By increasing oil prices to an unbearable level the poor masses are being pushed to hunger and death. The relief of Rs28bn as announced by the government is like rubbing salt into the wounds of poor people of Pakistan. This relief is for 85 million people, which translated into a relief of Rs330 per head.”

They said that the real inflation was much higher than the government-announced inflation of 15.1 per cent.

They said that in 2018 minimum wage was Rs16,200, or $132, per month and in 2022 it’s Rs19,000, or $95, which means that real minimum wage was decreased by $33, or Rs7,300, per month.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022

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