Workers demand a minimum of Rs25,000 monthly wage

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AUDIENCE at the Sindh Hari Mazdoor Conference held in Hyderabad on Sunday.—Dawn
AUDIENCE at the Sindh Hari Mazdoor Conference held in Hyderabad on Sunday.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: The Sindh Hari Mazdoor conference held here on Sunday called for fixation of minimum wages at Rs25,000 per month, cut in defence spending and increase in health and education budgets.

The conference jointly organised by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), the Home-Based Women Workers Association and the Sindh Agriculture General Workers Union raised workers’ issues and urged the government to meet their demands.

It urged the government to abolish the third party system of hiring workers, ensure issuance of appointment letters and put in place health and safety precautions at workplaces and labour inspection system in factories.

The conference chaired by the NTUF president Rafiq Baloch and attended by peasants, home-based women workers and industrial workers from across the province called for the registration of all workers with social security, old-age benefit and other social cover organisations.

Take a look: Livelihood crisis

It said the employees should have right to form unions in all departments including Karachi Shipyard; privatisation policy should be done away with immediately; and all types of contractual labour including third party system should be abolished. All temporary and contractual employees of government, public and private institutions should be regularised, it said.

It demanded eight-hour work schedule, implementation of government pledges about labour and human rights under GSP Plus, abolition of laws discriminatory against women, due representation in trade unions and labour welfare institutions, subsidy on electricity, water, gas and food items, representation for haris, labourers and working women in assemblies and protection of rights of labourers working abroad under international laws.

It urged the government to announce Rs6,000 minimum pension, set up labour colonies in all towns, cut defence spending and increase the budget for education and health, end feudal system, distribute government land among landless haris and give proportionate representation to haris and labourers in assemblies.

It said the haris should be allowed to form unions, government should take steps to implement labour laws for agricultural workers, give them facilities under social security system, set up hari courts and amend the Sindh Tenancy Act to meet present day needs.

The gathering called for stopping all mega projects in the province, accepting Sindh’s right of ownership on its freshwater bodies and coasts and stop attempts to artificially change Sindh’s demography.

It called upon the government to write off loans of haris, take notice of sale of adulterated seed and pesticides, bringing an end to alleged discrimination against Hindus, abolition of private jails, jirga system and forced labour, a halt to demolition of workers’ colonies and settlements and corporate farming.

The conference urged the government to accept home-based workers as labourers, formulate a policy for them, ratify ILO Convention C-177, register contractors and middlemen of home-based workers, collect their data and raise their wages.

The speakers including NTUF deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor, Saira Feroz Khoru, Gul Rehman, Khattal Faiz, Riaz Abassi and others said that workers in Sindh were deprived of basic rights and their honour always remained at the mercy of feudal lords.

SUKKUR: Activists of the Workers of Sindh Hari Committee demonstrated outside the Sukkur Press Club on Sunday, demanding an end to injustices being meted out to poor peasants and small growers.

The committee leaders Mir Munawwar Talpur and Mohammad Bukhsh Kaladi who led the protest said that peasants and small growers were denied gunny sacks while influential landlords who were part of the Sindh government were being provided the same on a large scale.

The officials of foods department on the other hand were taking advantage of the situation by selling away the sacks to traders.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2015

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