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Daily Times

Published Date: May 5, 2011


SLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar Wednesday demanded the implementation of labour laws to ensure safer workplaces and conditions for the workers. They highlighted the workers’s plight and their right to safer, healthier, and a better life, current status of labour laws, loopholes, and changes required to meet the objectives.

Workers’ registration must be ensured so that they can benefit from social security services like Pakistan Workers Welfare Fund, insurance, old age benefits, medical, and other fringe benefits. The seminar titled “Workers’ Memorial Day; Remember the Dead and fight for Living” was organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). The speakers included Mr Chaudhry Manzoor, Former MNA, PPP and Incharge Peoples Labour Bureau, Mr Akram Bunda, General Secretary PTV Workers Union and Deputy General Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF), Mr C. R. Shamsi, Former Secretary General, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ), and Ms Farzana Yasmin, Project Associate SDPI.

Farzana Yasmin highlighted the importance and history of Workers Memorial Day, April 28th- the World Day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. She quoted International Labour Organisation (ILO) that each year, more than two million women and men die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases across the world.

Mr. Bunda, while citing various provisions of national and international laws on labours, lamented the non-implementation of labour laws. He suggested improvements in organizational behavior system which include giving proper contract letters to the workers, ensure minimum wages, restoration of labour inspection teams and devising a management framework order on labour. He explained that only a revisiting and firm implementation of these steps were required as most of them are already part of the labour laws.

Chaudhry Manzoor highlighted the importance of workers memorial days and accounted various phases of labour struggle like Chicago Incident, Trade Union Act 1926, post independence subtraction of labour rights, Pro-labour policies of Peoples Party and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 70s, suppression of labours by Zia regime, Anti-labour clauses (27 b) introduced by Nawaz Sharif and lately ironical IRO 2002 and Removal from Services Act without any reason by Gen. Pervez Musharraf. He expressed that most of the political elite was unanimous on repression of labours and in denying their rights. The reason is that most of them are industrialists and don’t want to have any regulation undermining their interests.

He shared some of achievements, recently gained in struggle for workers’ rights like raising minimum wage to 7000 rupees, construction of 80,000 homes for workers, issuance of Master Labour Card in collaboration with Nadra, substantial increase in ratio of education, marriage and death grant, medical facilities to workers’s parents and continuity of benefits even after the death or retirement of the worker.