HYDERABAD, Pakistan: While paying glowing tribute to Munnu Bhai, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) expressed its deep sorrow over his death, saying he was a great journalist, a stylish columnist, a superb poet, bold trade unionist, an inspiring intellectual and above all a great human being.
In a resolution passed during the three-day meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of PFUJ held in Hyderabad from January 26-29, the Council said that being a former President of Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ), Munnu Bhai’s services would long be remembered for the cause of the workers.
The FEC said that Munnu Bhai was a voice for the down-trodden communities in Pakistan and his death is a severe blow to the cause of the poor and down-trodden people of this Country.
It said that a strong anti-establishment, Munnu Bhai was bold enough to raise the real issues facing Pakistan and its people without any fear or favour through his columns and poetry. The vacuum created by his death will take a long time to fill.
The PFUJ’s Federal Executive Council said that although Munnu Bhai has left this world, he still lives in our hearts and will always be there.
“We pray to Allah to rest his soul in Jannah and express our deepest sympathies with his family on their great loss,” the PFUJ said. “We also call upon the government to honour him by announcing posthumously highest civil award of the Country.”
PFUJ resolution on delay in salaries, contractual employment
The Federal Executive Council of PFUJ also passed another resolution, expressing its deep concern over the delay and in some cases non-payment of salaries in numerous Newspapers and Television Channels across the Country.
The FEC meeting observed that a large number of Media Houses are delaying the salaries of the workers while some have not paid their employees for the last three month in clear violation of Labour Laws of the Country.
The meeting warned the Media Houses and owners to follow the Labour Laws in letter and spirit; otherwise the PFUJ would give call to its workers to hold demonstrations outside their offices as well as stage walk outs from the National and Provincial assemblies to name and shame such organisations.
The PFUJ also called upon the Media Houses including newspaper owners to provide health facilities to their workers as per the Labour Laws of the Country and set up Provident Fund/Gratuity for the workers.
The FEC of PFUJ also condemned the Contract System introduced by the newspaper owners and TV Channels in violation of the Labour Laws to deprive their workers of their lawful rights. It noted the recent decision given by the Supreme Court declaring Third Party Contract System as a violation of the Law and calls upon the Media Houses owners to immediately end this system.
The FEC also authorizes the PFUJ President Afzal Butt to either independently or in collaboration with other Labour Unions of the Country file a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to challenge the Contract System in Media Houses. It further authorized the PFUJ president to hire the services of a lawyer for this purpose.
PFUJ resolution on Wage Board Award
Passing another resolution on the delay in formation of the 8th Wage Award Commission, the FEC of PFUJ expressed its grave concern over the failure of the successive governments including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in failing to form the Wage Board Award Commission in blatant violation of the law.
It noted with concern that in spite of repeated promises made by the Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb, the Wage Award Commission has not been formed till date.
The meeting firmly believed that the government is trying to appease the newspaper owners by delaying the formation of Wage Award Commission,
The PFUJ once again reminded the government that it is duty-bound under law to form the Wage Board Award Commission and firmly believed that any further delay in the announcement would be detrimental to the interests of the newspaper employees.
The FEC meeting of the Federal Executive Council of PFUJ was of the considered opinion that by failing to announce the Wage Board Award Commission, the government is negating the authority of the Parliament which had passed the Newspapers Employees Conditions of Service Act 1973 under which this Wage Commission is formed.
The meeting condemned in the strongest term the failure of the government in delaying the formation of the Wage Board Award Commission and demands its immediate constitution.
The meeting authorized the PFUJ President Afzal Butt and Secretary General Ayub Jan Sarhandi to hold talks with All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) leadership for organizing a joint Protest/Hunger Strike Camp outside the Parliament in April 2018.
In addition, the PFUJ also expressed concern that there are no Employment Rules or Minimum Wages for thousands of Electronic Media Workers and calls upon the government to immediately announce a Wage Board for Electronic Media Employees on the pattern of Newspaper Employees Conditions of Service Act 1973.