close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
March 2, 2020

Workers demand better wages, safety, healthcare

Lahore

March 2, 2020

LAHORE:Workers have demanded better wages, an improved labour inspection mechanism to protect their lives from accidents and quality health facilities.

It was demanded in a declaration issued after a National Worker Convention organised by Labour Education Foundation in collaboration with Industrial Relation Institute Lahore at IRI Convention Hall. More than 300 home-based, kiln, domestic, power loom and garment workers from difference provinces gathered and discussed the labour rights situation in Pakistan. Khalid Mehmood, Director Labour Education Foundation, welcomed the participants. The convention was divided into two sessions, the first session was on “Labour Rights Situation– Perspective of Trade Unions” while the second session was on “Way forward for the Protection of Labour Rights”. The speaker in the first session was Mohammad Shabir, General Secretary Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union, who said the minimum wage was Rs1,295 but there was no any kiln where workers were getting the wag as per government orders. “It means the government is unable to maintain the rule of law in Punjab,” he added.

Abrar-Ullah from Mardan shared the workers’ situation and their struggle for right in KP. Sherzada from Peoples Workers Union Mardan talked about the situation of workers in a cotton mills. Ms Tajmeena, President Home Based Women Workers Union Charsadda, KP, said that the overall worker situation in KP was not good but the condition of HBW workers was the worst. Ms Shazia Tariq, General Secretary, Home Based Women Workers Union Lahore, said that international brands were exploiting workers, as they were not following labour laws especially related to the minimum wage.

Aslam Maraj from the Faisalabad Union said the number of boiler blast cases had increased in power loom and textile factories due to non-inspection. He requested Provencal Labour Minster Anser Majeed to take up the case on an emergency bases. Niaz Khan, General Secretary Ittehad Labour Union Carpet Industries Pakistan, said the government should focus only on implementation of labour laws if it wanted to improve the life of the labour force.

In the second session “Way forward for the Protection of Labour Rights,” Rana Hassan of Progressive Labour Federation highlighted the importance of labour unions. He said workers could only get their rights if they were organised. Arshid Mehmood, Director Labour & Environment, briefed the audience about the progress of his department. Farooq Tariq, labour activist and Secretary Kisan Rabta Committee, said the government needed to adopt a bottom-up approach for development. He said if the economy of workers improved, the overall economy of the country would improve. He said the minimum wage should be Rs40,000 as inflation had been reached the highest level.

Anser Majeed, Minister of Labour and Human Resource, informed about steps which his ministry is taking for workers. At the end of the convention, Khalid Mehmood read out the declaration and handed it over to Anser Majeed.

The declaration said,·”Improve the labour inspection mechanism so that accidents related to boiler could be minimized. Ensure the implementation of health and safety laws because a healthy worker can lead to the economic development of any country. Reinstate union leaders and workers on their jobs. All workers should be registered for social security and EOBI, so that they can get benefits from the Worker Welfare Board. In hosiery factories the majority of workers are women and they are being harassed, therefore, committees should be formed in each factory as per the Sexual Harassment Act 2010. All workers appreciate the Punjab government for making the Punjab Domestic Workers Act 2019, now as per its promise the government should issue social security cards to them as early as possible.

The government should make law on home-based workers. Workers demand for a living wage instead of a minimum wage. All workers demand justice for Rizwan, union leader of an auto factory. All applications of workers submitted to the Worker Welfare Board should be addressed within 30 days. Labourers should have especial seats in the Provincial and National Assemblies and prices of electricity, gas and basic commodities should be decreased.”