Over 150 workers at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi,Pakistan, are continuing an occupation against the sacking of four union reps and around 100 other workers. They have held the basement of the 5-star hotel for 15 days, despite police raids and bullying threats by security guards.
This is a historic protest in a city where the workers movement is traditionally regarded as “luke warm”.
Pearl Continental workers share only a tiny fraction of the billions earned by the hotel’s owners, the Hashwani group. While workers who clean rooms, make meals and run the hotel earn just £60 a month, group chairman Saddaruddin Hashwani is one of the richest men in Pakistan. He is worth £5.5 billion.
Management are now trying starve the workers out by refusing to allow food to be delivered to the occupiers. The result is that some of the workers have fallen ill, while other are exhausted. Nevertheless, activists are determined to continue until management withdraw the sackings and recognise the union.