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February 11, 2018



Sindh unveils first labour policy

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Saturday unveiled its first labour policy, which, it said, had been drafted under a tripartite consultation arrangement involving three main stakeholders: provincial labour authorities, labour representatives, and industrialists and employers in the province.

The policy was unveiled at the New Sindh Secretariat by the president of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sindh chapter and provincial minister, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Information and Labour Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, relevant government officials, labour representatives, industrialists, employers and officials of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Speaking on the occasion, Khuhro said the country’s first labour policy was also announced on 10 February, 1972 by the then ruler and the PPP founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as the PPP had emerged as the political party that did active struggle to safeguard rights of the labourers.

He said the implementation of the country’s first labour policy had come to a halt as the democratically elected government had been deposed in 1977.

Khuhro said that first provincial labour policy had been drafted in view of the principle that the prosperity of the people would ultimately lead to the country’s development.

He said Sindh had become the first province to draft and unveil such a policy as it was the hub of industrial and business activities in the country. He said this policy would prove to be conducive to the process of industrialisation in the country. He hoped that other provinces would be inspired by the initiative of the Sindh government and would announce similar policies.

Khuhro said that earlier the government had passed 14 laws in the provincial assembly related to the labourers. He said the adoption of labour-friendly laws would strengthen the industries, a move that would ultimately strengthen the country’s economy.

He said the labour policy would safeguard due rights of labourers associated with different sections of society, including home-based workers and labourers of industrial and agricultural sectors.

The minister said the stakeholders must cooperate with the government to incorporate due amendments in this policy and get it passed from the Sindh Assembly within the prescribed period of eight weeks.

He said a large number of public sector organisations in the country such as the Pakistan Steel Mills and the Pakistan International Airline had been ruined because of the federal government’s defective policies.

Labour Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said the government with the adoption of this labour policy having 45 points had once again proved that the PPP was the only pro-people political party in the country.

He said the labour policy was a very comprehensive document that would fully encompass the issue of fulfilment of all legitimate, legal and constitutional rights of labourers belonging to different sectors of trade and industry. Hussain said the policy had been drafted involving all stakeholders in society so the policy document would emerge as a feasible and practical solution to resolve issues of the labourers.

He hoped that the Sindh Assembly in the required time frame would pass the legislation to give due legal cover to the policy for implementation.

ILO country director Ingrid Christensen congratulated the government on the adoption of the first provincial labour policy, saying that the international labour body would fully back its implementation.

She praised the government’s efforts for strengthening economy and safeguarding rights of labourers. She said the implementation of the labour policy would be a challenge for the Sindh government. But she hoped that the provincial authorities would be able to fulfil this challenge.

Christensen said the provincial labour policy was a balanced document that was acceptable to all the stakeholders.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has appreciated the Sindh government for announcing the People’s Labour Policy, exactly 46 years after the first-ever labour policy was unveiled by then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on February 10, 1972. In a statement, the PPP chairman said his party had proved again that it was the sole representative of labourers and the working class. He said the interests of the toiling masses were always given top priority by his party.

Bilawal said that labourers, peasants and students responded the call from former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and then Benazir Bhutto and always remained in the forefront for the movements for democracy and the people’s rights.

He said the Sindh government had successfully taken all the stakeholders into confidence in formulating the labour policy following the devolution of the labour ministry to the provinces under the historic 18th amendment piloted by former president Asif Ali Zardari.

The PPP chairman said the People’s Labour Policy would help in resolving the problems of labourers, enhance their productivity, and boost industrial activity in the province.

Bilawal lauded the efforts of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, labour minister Nasir Hussain Shah and others. He said the Peoples Labour Policy 2018 would provide guidelines for legislations and decisions regarding the labour community. The PPP chairman assured that his party would continue to work for the betterment of the labour and the working classes in the future as well.