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 16, 2021

Minimum wage policy has neither raised income nor stopped exploitation, says SHC

Karachi

March 16, 2021

The Sindh High Court has observed that the minimum wage policy has not helped increase the income of domestic workers or protected them from exploitation by their employers.

Disposing of a petition seeking the payment of the minimum wage to all janitorial workers of the cantonment boards in Karachi, a division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui and Adnan-ul-Karim Memon observed that the janitorial staff (sweepers) working on daily wages or a contract basis got a little amount per month.

The court observed that the enforcement of the minimum wage law is not the only problem for the time being; the sheer injustice and massive exploitation of the legal rights of hard-working unskilled minimum wage workers is also an issue.

The court observed that domestic workers are low-paid and insecure, and working and financial conditions of these people are dismal, and they have been living from hand to mouth. It further said the federal and provincial governments must contemplate the rationale of the minimum wage in light of the law and keep raising the amount to adjust for inflation and other factors.

The court observed that minimum wages should be fixed for both formal and informal sectors, and that there was a need to evolve a mechanism of stringent legal actions for the violation of the law by some industry, factory or other business entity.

The SHC said the federal and provincial governments have determined the quantum of minimum wages respectively, but, unfortunately, the subject laws, which are for the welfare and improvement of the financial condition of unskilled workers, are not being implemented in letter and spirit.

The court observed that Sindh Payment of Wages Act, 2015, applies to all factories, industrial and commercials establishments in the Sindh and it also deals with the industrial establishment as well as the establishment of third party contractors.

Regarding third-party contractors in private establishments, the court observed that it is a normal practice on behalf of such employers to create a pretence and on that pretence to outsource employment against permanent posts.

The high court bench remarked that all the janitorial staff, even if considered to be the employees of a contractor, which is not the correct position, have been performing duties of a permanent nature and they ought to have been on regular strength of the respondent cantonment boards.

The court directed the chairman of the Sindh Minimum Wages Board to continue his endeavor on the subject and submit periodical reports on implementation of the relevant laws for the betterment of the janitorial staff of respondent cantonments.

The competent authorities of the cantonment boards have been directed to cooperate with the chairman of the Sindh Minimum Wages Board as and when he needs their help for the enforcement of the subject laws.

The court directed the cantonment boards to implement the recommendations of the chairman of the SIndh Minimum Wages Board under the law. The petitioners’ counsel, Faisal Siddiqui, submitted that the minimum wage of Rs17,500 was being paid to the janitorial staff of the CBC since August 2020 in view of the orders passed by the court in the instant petition.

He submitted that most of the questions involved in the present petition had been resolved in light of the findings of the chairman of the Minimum Wages Board on December 14, 2020. He sought disposal of the petition in light of the report.