Saturday September 25, 2021

‘Workers in rural Sindh getting salary of Rs6,000 only’

May 02, 2020

On International Labour Day observed on Friday, the Hari Welfare Association (HWA) lamented that across rural areas of Sindh, workers in agriculture farms and brick kilns, who were in millions, hardly received Rs6,000 per month against the Rs17,500 minimum wage promised by the Sindh government for unskilled workers in 2019.

The peasants’ rights body also said that the COVID-19 brought devastating consequences to labourers’ routine lives, and they were feeling compelled to take their own lives. The association cited three cases of suicides of workers in the Khairpur district who had been affected by lockdown.

A meeting was held at the head office of the HRW on Friday to mark the labour day. Akram Khaskheli, president HWA, and labour leaders Hussain Bux, Manzoor Laghari and others attended the meeting.

The HWA leaders said that young people without employment, education and skill improvement opportunities were compelled to work between 14 and 16 hours at grocery shops, restaurants, and workshops just for Rs5,000 per month in rural parts of Sindh. “Of these workers, women and children are at the lowest ebb to receive the wages.”

They demanded that the government take notice of the violation of labour rights and ensure the implementation of labour laws across the province. “Poverty, hunger and social and economic injustice push people to survive through the available limited economic opportunities. It is unfortunate that labour opportunities are less likely available throughout the month because some of the work is seasonal,” it said.

Thus, a worker often spends time at the roadside or in the agriculture field in search of work. The minimum wage is one of the aspects of their miserable life without social security and protection.

They said the Sindh Industrial Relations Act of 2013 had mistakenly recognised rural workers and peasants, and provided them the right to form unions. “Still, the government has taken no steps to ensure the unionisation of such workers."

In 2019, the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers Act was enacted, but the law had become dormant like any other law enacted since independence, they said.