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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Convention decries exploitation of textile and garment industries’ workers

By Our Correspondent
March 04, 2024
An employee working at a textile factory in Karachi in this undated file image. — AFP
An employee working at a textile factory in Karachi in this undated file image. — AFP

Several garment workers from across Karachi attended the third Textile Garments Workers Convention on Sunday organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) at the Labour Square in the Site area.

The convention highlighted the role textile and garment workers played in Pakistan's economy as these industries earned over $18 billion annually which was a staggering 60 per cent of the country's total exports.

Speakers at the convention, however, decried the deplorable working conditions faced by the workers of these industries. Addressing the convention, labour leaders said the working environment of the textile industries was ‘worse than what animals had to endure’.

They said violations of basic labour laws were rampant with workers being denied minimum wage, social security, pensions and fair working hours. They added that this exploitation occurred in factories producing garments for both domestic and international markets.

A key theme of the convention was the prevalence of an illegal contractual system that trapped workers in a cycle of bonded labour and wage slavery. Speakers emphasised the need for organised resistance against this oppressive system.

According to speakers, the active participation at the event signalled the rise of a powerful labour movement determined to fight for the workers' rights. The convention culminated in the election of a 13-member committee tasked with addressing the exploitation faced by Pakistan's textile and garment workers.

Those who spoke at the convention included Rafiq Baloch, Atif Hussain, Nasir Mansoor, Zehra Khan, Riaz Abbasi, Advocate Ahsan Mehmood, Gul Rehman and Saira Feroze.