KARACHI: As new fiscal year starts from July 1, the Sindh government has taken months to notify the increase in minimum wage of unskilled workers to Rs12,000 from Rs10,000.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had announced an increase of Rs2,000 in minimum wages during June 2014.

The Sindh labour department sent a reference to the Sindh Minimum Wages Board in the third week of September 2014 for recommending minimum wages of unskilled adult and juvenile workers employed in the industrial and commercial establishments of Sindh.

The board, having considered the objections and suggestions received in pursuance of its notification of Dec 4, 2014, had submitted its recommendations for fixing minimum wages under its letter dated 26-02-2015 by issuing notification under Section 6 of Minimum Wage Ordinance, 1961. The Sindh government had accepted the recommendation of the board.

According to a notification issued on March 12, the increase in minimum wages shall come into force from July 1, 2014.

Surprisingly, the Sindh government had issued gazette notification regarding enhancement in minimum wages on Dec 4 last. On March 12, another notification on the same subject was issued by the Minimum Wage Board. In view of two notifications on the same subject recommending increase in wages from July 2014, it is not clear whether the industrial and commercial units had already enforced the Chief Minister’s decision of June 2014 or they were waiting for a notification.

Sources said that some industries had already raised the minimum wage by Rs2,000 in December 2014 besides giving six months’ arrears in view of rising cost of living of people.

Many units might have not enforced wage hike since July 2014 as they were waiting for the notification. Now they will have to pay nine months arrears after March 12 notification.

According to the notification, all industrial, commercial and other establishments registered under any law shall pay wages to employees through cross-cheque/bank transfer.

FB Area Association of Trade and Industry (FBATI) Chairman Jawed Ali Ghori said that there was no harm in paying Rs12,000 per month for unskilled labour in future, but there might be problem for many industrial units to pay arrears with retrospect effect.

He said that the Commissioner of Karachi had also reminded for proper implementation of wage hike.

He said around 50pc unskilled labour and workers, out of a total strength of employees in industrial units, are working on minimum wage of Rs12,000.

North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry Chairman A. Rasheed Foddewala said that the government should have taken the industry people on board.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2015

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