Transport union boycotts Pakistan’s carrier

The ITF has launched a consumer boycott against Pakistan’s national carrier, in an attempt to stamp out the victimisation of workers and restore trade unions rights.The campaign, which gets off the ground this Tuesday in the UK, will press the Pakistani government to end the repression against aviation workers employed by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Five union activists have been dismissed and several others suspended.

The ITF is acting on behalf of five affiliated trade unions and three other unions, whose repression by the government has been internationally condemned. Together with British and Pakistani airline workers, the federation will urge members of Britain’s Pakistani and wider communities to support the boycott.

As part of the campaign, a protest will take place at the Pakistani Consulate in Bradford on 16 May, alongside leafleting at mosques and Sikh temples in Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.

Further action will take place outside PIA’s offices on 20 May, also in Bradford, followed by action in London at a later date. ITF civil aviation affiliates in other countries where PIA has flight operations will also be distributing pamphlets and holding demonstrations.


PIA, backed by the Pakistani government, has been attacking union members for a number of years, despite the fact that their tactics were ruled unlawful by a Pakistani supreme court.

A ruling by the International Labour Organization, following a complaint by the ITF, claimed that the government was violating trade union rights; this has been consistently ignored.

David Cockroft, ITF General Secretary explained: “A boycott is a tactic we don’t use lightly. The trade unions in Pakistan are being hit hard, and they’re asking us to help them hit back.”

Mohammed Taj, General Council member of the ITF-affiliated Transport and General Workers’ Union, which represents PIA employees in the UK, said: “With the help of the government, PIA has been getting away with the suppression of workers’ rights for years. These practices have no place in a modern nation, a modern airline or a 21st century industry such as aviation.”