A Long Struggle ends in a Win.

By : Salman Ali

National Database and Registration Authority ( NADRA) is the leading organization in Pakistan that keeps the record of all the citizens of Pakistan. It issues national identity cards, passports, other cards for identification purpose.  It is based on computerized system and well known intentionally. 

NADRA was established as National Database Organization (NDO), an attached department under the Ministry of Interior Government of Pakistan in 1998. On 10 March 2000, NDO and Directorate General of Registration merged to form NADRA with requisite autonomy to operate independently and facilitate good governance within the country.

In 2009 NADRA Union of Employees Pakistan was announced as it was the demand of young workers of this newly established body and in starting there were 18000 employees in NADRA who were working on contract basis throughout the country including 8500 in Punjab.

The twist in the tail started when the administration of NADRA suspended almost 57 office bearers of Employees Welfare Association (EWA) for steering the campaign for confirmation of some 18000 contractual staffers on 21st July 2012 . EWA members started a struggle for regularizing the staff which was on contract but on the other hand the administration in NADRA didn’t allow them to work. Developing the strategy with more workers’ the fired employees filed an application in the Department of Labour Punjab for seeking permission to constitute Union in NADRA.

With the help of young members, sacked employees build a union on 7th July, 2012 and started to work for the rights of workers. Many protests were arranged 14th to 26th of February but key one was made in March 20, 2012 when employees gathered at the Parade Lane in front of the parliament house and for a sit-in until their demands are not met. But sadly 37 of NADRA employees were arrested then later jailed and F.I.R was charged on 200. Suspended employees went to all districts to build a strong relation and to make their union strong which can come up to deal with government and NADRA officials.

Ghulam Murtaza, General Secretary NADRA Employees Union of Punjab talked with LEF and said, “there were 18000 employees working on contract basis throughout the country including 8500 in Punjab. All employees were observing shutter down strike against management for not regularize their jobs which was our plus point.    

“NADRA employees were working on contract basis from last 12 years and they had no job security. Most of the contractual employees were working on Office Assistant, Data entry Operator, Superintendent, Assistant Manager, System Engineers and Deputy Manger posts. 
“Only registration branch employees were enjoying jobs and all others were working on temporary basis. Contract employees were hired by the help of any MPA or MNA. So our union also reacted on direct hiring of staff says”, Murtaza.

Nadra Employees Union Punjab (NEUP) demanded from the government to regularized them and impose ban on direct appointment in Nadra. The demands were made during a protest demonstration held here at Lahore in front of Lahore Press Club on 24th May 2012. Demonstrators were carrying banners and placards inscribed with different slogans in favour of their demands. But the government reacted in different way and suspended 61 employees from Balochistan, Islamabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab who were involved in peaceful strike starting from 21st Februray 2012.

Case was filled in High court on 29th March 2012 for reinstatement of the employees and after a hiring on 16th July 2012 the court gave orders in favour of those 61 employees and reinstated them on their jobs and about 17000 employees were regularized. It was a win for NADRA union workers.

Mohammad Asif  Bashir President (NEUP) while talking to LEF said that, “ it was an hard struggle but the main focus of our agenda was that lower grade staff with higher education should not be  promoted according to their  qualification as well as  100 percent house subsidy should be given to the employees working in big cities.  we had an charter of demands urged for  promotion of statistical assistants to grade 17,  fill all the vacancies of  DGR from lower to upper grade  through time scale, provide pension to all old employees of National Identity Card (NID) from AGPR, allot office to NEU in provincial headquarter and give appointment to  NADRA employees  son.

They also urged for an opportunity for the promotion of senior staff and avoid direct appointment of SE, AM as well as Supervisor. He said our demands were fulfilled because union showed unity and employees showed trust in them”.

Niaz Khan (General Secretary National Trade Union Federation Punjab) said, “thanked Lahore High Court for their judgment in favour of workers of NADRA.






    Labour Report 2010      
      Hearing The Unheard




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