Anti-worker practices by Metro group of Germany in Pakistan

Metro Cash and Carry Pakistan belonging to German retail conglomerate Metro AG, the owner of retail chains like Metro, Makro, Real, Media Markt and Saturn, have opened their stores and operations in Pakistan since 2006 and from 2011 have partnered with the notorious Habib group which is famous for its anti-workers and hostile management. The new partnership is named as Metro – Habib Pakistan. A few days before the general secretary of Metro-Habib workers union Farooq Hassan was arrested on the orders of Metro – Habib Pakistan. Pakistan Trade Union Solidarity approached Farooq Hassan and ask about the situation concerning his arrest. He told that Metro – Habib management has registered a secret workers union on papers without the knowledge of employees. The chairman of this secretive union is someone who is not even working in the company. This type of practice is common among companies in Pakistan representing foreign companies to show social compliance on papers. But in reality the story is totally different. When the workers of Metro – Habib company came to know about this pocket union, they registered form their own union and challenge the pocket union in National Industrial Relations Commission of Pakistan and through an election, won the Collective Bargaining Agent CBA rights securing majority of the votes. After this، the management went hell bent on victimising and punishing the genuine workers union and CBA agent. They decided to dissolve the trade union without even following any legal steps. Alongside, they started a vicious campaign of victimising and brutalising workers representatives. Several reps were forcefully removed from jobs, several were dismissed form their jobs, several were transferred and rest were pressurised to resign form work. Furthermore, these workers were deprived of their salaries which is an illegal in the court of law. They were even not allowed to enter premises and were confined to a certain area to isolate them form talking and contacting other workers. Alongside these repressive measures, numerous fake cases were registered against workers in courts. However due to lack of evidence the cases were rejected by the courts.On June 2018 general secretary of the dissolved workers union Farooq Hassan was invited to Karachi in Habib – Metro office and was arrested by private security guards. Later he was handed over to the police citing numerous fake cases against him. Management was using this tactic forcing him to retreat on union’s allegations against the management. Management is fearful that a properly organised trade union the workplace will eventually fight against the exploitation going on in Metro – Habib group which includes low wages, extensive working hours often over time without overtime, non-existent health and safety measures resulting in injury and death of workers at workplaces and massive outsourcing of work to notorious contractors famous for super-exploiting workers. Pakistan trade union solidarity standing in support of Metro – Habib workers and is urging international working class movement and trade unions in the retail sector to support retail workers of Pakistan.