KARACHI: The tripartite standing committee met on Monday and held a thorough discussion on the existing labour laws. It decided that it would finalise its recommendations for amendment to the laws in a week to bring them in conformity with the Sindh Labour Policy recently announced by the provincial government, officials said.

With Nasir Hussain Shah, minister for labour, transport and information, in the chair, the meeting resolved that the amended laws would be more worker-friendly.

“The leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party always focuses on the working class. It is one of our party’s top priorities to enhance workers’ prestige in society and work for their welfare,” said Mr Shah while addressing the meeting held at the committee room of the secretary labour’s office.

He said the Sindh government should be credited for taking the three important stakeholders of the labour sector — labour organisations, employers’ bodies and officials in the key departments of the provincial government — on board to carry out an important activity of editing the existing labour laws through amendments and improvements.

‘New laws to be more worker-friendly’

The meeting reviewed various laws in which the participants were informed that the recommendations were in the final stage.

Mr Shah said once the recommendations were finalised in a week, they would be sent to the Sindh cabinet for its nod before being formally passed by the provincial legislature and promulgated.

“By implementing the new amended and improved laws, working conditions will improve and industrial sector at large will prosper, thus, Sindh will be in the black,” said the minister.

He said the PPP chief, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, eagerly wanted to finalise the improved labour laws and their implementation in the province.

“Thus, our committee is required to compile its recommendations in the coming seven days,” he said.

He added the legal experts should be involved in the process to examine the final recommendations so that they would be flawless when they were put before the higher forums.

For this, said the minister, the provincial government was ready to provide legal experts and advisers to the tripartite standing committee.

Labour secretary Rasheed Solangi gave details vis-à-vis proceedings of the previous sittings of the committee.

Habibuddin Junaidi of the Peoples Labour Bureau said the tripartite committee’s efforts were laudable. He said the number of workers registered with the government-run Workers Welfare Board, Sindh Employees Social Security Institution and Employees Old-age Benefit Institution (EOBI) was much smaller than their actual numbers.

He said most factories and offices were not paying their workers the minimum wage of Rs15,000 as fixed by the government.

“Workers are being forced to work for 12 to 16 hours in various organisations, yet, they are not being paid the minimum wages as fixed by the government,” said Mr Junaidi.

The minister said the laws were being amended keeping all those issues in mind and for the welfare of workers. The new labour laws would open up the doors of prosperity for workers and employers alike.

Representatives of various organisations of industrialists and workers attended the meeting and chipped in with their inputs for final recommendations, officials said.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2018

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