THE Industrial Revolution of the 19th century promised better days ahead for workers, but even in the 21st century their exploitation continues; though Pakistan has ratified the international labour laws of ILO.
Long working hours, unpaid overtime, meagre pays, unsafe working conditions, child and bonded labour, no compensations for accidents, illness, old age or death on job, and lack of resting or catering facilities at meal times highlight that the working environment in Pakistan has, by large, little changed, in spite of a rapidly changing world.
Our agriculture work force has no protection though it is the main contributor to our economy.
Bonded labour is another serious challenge which is highly neglected despite provision of laws such as Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act of 1992.
We need advocates of a just and equitable society where fundamental rights of labour are respected, ensured and guaranteed. We should aim at promoting a democratic and effective labour movement to enable people to exercise their core rights.
We should focus on strengthening people’s organisations at the workplace and in their communities in their struggles to push market, society and state towards the economic justice of realising secure and prosperous livelihoods.
OSAMA AFNAN HANAFI Karachi