IUF logo; clicking here returns you to the home page.
Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Marriott Pakistan Bombing Highlights Need for Shared Commitment to Security

Posted to the IUF website 24-Sep-2008

Share this article.

The September 20 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan cost the lives of at least 60 people and will have a chilling effect on the tourism industry, on which many hundreds of thousands of Pakistani workers and their communities depend for their livelihoods. It follows from the same deadly, totalitarian logic as the protracted conflict in Pakistan's Swat valley, the January 2008 attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan and the May attacks in Jaipur India. In the face of such outrages, condemnations risk banality. We can only repeat that such acts are contrary to all the fundamental values of the labour movement and its commitment to life, justice and peaceful conflict resolution. On behalf of our members around the world, our deepest condolences go out the family and friends of the victims, workers and guests.

The Marriott bombing again highlights the heightened risk and insecurity inflicted on hotel, restaurant and tourism workers by the spread of violence and terrorism. HRCT sectors depend on safety and security at their workplaces and in their countries. Working constructively with employers to develop a healthy tourism sector with secure working conditions based on full respect for worker and trade union rights is a fundamental objective of trade unions organizing in the sector.

The IUF-affiliated Pakistan Hotels, Restaurants, Clubs, Tourism, Catering and Allied Workers' Federation represents workers at a number of establishments across the country, including workers at the Pearl Continental Hotels, owned by Sadruddin Hashwani, the owner of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. For eight years the IUF and the Federation have been in dispute with the owner over trade union rights and recognition at the Karachi Pearl Continent Hotel. Throughout this struggle, the union and the IUF have reiterated their commitment to working constructively with the owner to resolve their differences through negotiation and working together for the security and prosperity of the establishment. The tragic events in Islamabad underscore our commitment to negotiating a just solution to this conflict and the urgent necessity for unions and employers to jointly confront the threats to tourism in Pakistan on the basis of a shared commitment to justice and democracy.