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August 9, 2009

Govt urged to rectify labour policy


M. Shirazi
August 9, 2009

KARACHI: The government must rectify labour policy which is imperative to creating a harmonious working relationship between labourers and employers for promoting productivity, competitiveness and growth of industry.

FPCCI President Sultan Ahmed Chawla stated this at a seminar on “Industrial Relations Act (IRA) 2008: A charter of harmonious relations or a harbinger of industrial chaos” at the federation house on Saturday.

Chawla said that the Industrial Relations Act 2008 was made without consultation with the FPCCI, as a result of which there was clash of interests among employees and the employers causing imbalance.

All Pakistan Trade Union Congress Secretary General, Shaukat Ali said that it took six years to get rid of the harsh Industrial Relation Act of 2002 and still the 2008 act is made on the same lines which need amendment.

Ahsanullah Khan, Chairman of the Workers and Employers Bilateral Council Pakistan said that the government should consult with stakeholders before drafting labour laws. Conferences need to be called to determine set of recommendations to be filed before expiry of the existing act in April 2010, after which it will be promulgated into a law, he added. He said that there should be a tripartite representation of workers’ employers and government in institutions in a ration of 40:40:20, respectively.

Provincial Secretary for Labour, Alam Din Bullo said the Sindh government had already prepared its set of recommendations for the industrial act and was working with other parts of the country to come up with national recommendations befitting all stakeholders of the country.

SITE Chairman MA Jabbar said that labour laws need to be reformed. “While we have an unemployment rate ranging between 5.5 to 19 per cent, the government should see how to generate employment in order to bring prosperity,” he added.

Speaking on pragmatic approach in the labour laws, KCCI former president, Majid

Aziz said that minimum wage anomaly, whereby the government increased wages of the minimum paid labourers, should be reconsidered as it is an impractical option for industrialists in this time of economic downturn. He said the government should demarcate new industrial areas providing for housing for low paid workers which will be cheaper too.

The chief guest of the seminar Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Federal Minister of Labour and Manpower said that the government is keen to evolve policies which will benefit workers and the employers. He said that it is also in the interests of the government that industrial units of the country work effectively. The government will accept recommendations before the promulgation of the Industrial Relations Act in 2010, he added.

Chawla, in his concluding address said that we cannot dream of any success without education, all of this can only be only achieved if we make technical and primary education essential in Pakistan.

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