LAHORE: The working class has urged the provincial and federal governments to ensure implementation of safety and health laws in all industrial and commercial establishments through revival of the independent labour inspection machinery.
Provision of other rights of workers in the light of ILO Convention No 81, ratified by the Pakistan government, should also be ensured, said a resolution unanimously adopted by office-bearers of the All Pakistan Workers Confederation from all over the country at a national convention at Labour Hall here on Thursday.
Presided over by PWC’s Punjab president Rubina Jameel, the meeting observed that most of labour laws, which had been promulgated almost a century ago, became obsolete and the need of the hour was to bring them in conformity with ILO Conventions ratified by the Pakistan government.
The meeting called for repeal of retrogressive labour laws that had been hindering implementation of safety, health and social protection rules at industrial units, regularisation of the service of all contract, work-charged employees, measures to end abuse of child and bonded labour and discrimination against the women in society.
Through a resolution, the meeting asked the government to improve taxation by imposing high tax on the import of luxurious goods and building of posh bungalows as well as on agricultural income to raise revenue for meeting basic needs of the poor. It called for special measures for the welfare of women labour force by providing free education and training to them for enhancing their income generation capacities.
Provision of free medical facilities to industrial workers and their families after their superannuation or death should be ensured from the social security scheme as allowed to public sector employees.
The government should develop industrial infrastructure in least-developed areas, enabling the youth and labour force to have access to employment.
The resolution urged the government to take special measures for welfare of the labour force intending to go abroad by providing them with technical assistance to equip them with requisite skill and knowledge to get employment.
Agrarian reforms should be introduced and uncultivated state land distributed among landless peasants after allocation of adequate resources for promotion of their farming skills and provision of marketing facilities for their products.
Adequate resources should be allocated in the GNP for the provision of free but meaningful education and skills to each child by introducing a uniform syllabus throughout the country. Steps should also be taken for the development of multi-skilled labour force for domestic and foreign markets.
The government should establish tripartite productivity, safety and health councils at the national level to facilitate workers by providing education and training facilities to the labour at its workplace on the pattern of Japan, Korea, Singapore and other developed states.
Earlier, union general secretary Khurshid Ahmad presented the report of activities of the Confederation during last year.
He urged the federal government to transfer workers welfare funds to provincial boards so that the secured workers could get sanctioned death and marriage grants. The government should also increase the old-age benefits, especially pension, commensurate with price hike for industrial and commercial workers and allow them to continue availing themselves of medical facilities under the Social Security Scheme after retirement.
He said more than 150 workers of the electricity department sacrificed their lives every year while performing duties on lines and grids. The number of workers who lost their limb or became disabled was much more.
These accidents were mainly due to non-observance of safety regulations, lack of standard safety equipment and professional training of young labour force and the poor supervision by the officers concerned.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2015
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