Workers put forth long-standing demands on Labour Day

Published May 2, 2018
UNAWARE of what International Labour Day signifies, these women labourers are busy in work at 
New Sabzi Mandi on Tuesday.—Online
UNAWARE of what International Labour Day signifies, these women labourers are busy in work at New Sabzi Mandi on Tuesday.—Online

KARACHI: Various processions and numerous meetings were held by different organisations in the city, like elsewhere around the globe, to celebrate International Labour Day on Tuesday.

Trade union leaders in their speeches paid rich tributes to the workers of Chicago, who laid down their lives and fought against long working hours and less wages and demanded better working conditions, better wages, etc, over a century back.

The workers in processions throughout their routes were chanting slogans in support of labour rights and were also carrying banners inscribed with their demands.

A procession organised by the National Trade Union Federation was taken out from Regal Chowk.

It passed through various city roads and concluded at the Karachi Press Club and turned into a public meeting.

The NTUF leaders — Nasir Mansoor, Rafiq Baloch, Zehra Khan, Bashir Mehmoodani, Saeeda Khatoon, Saira Feroz — in their speeches condemned the capitalist system and said that on one hand it had increased poverty, unemployment and exploitation and on the other it created social, political and economic problems.

They said that overwhelming majority of the over six and a half million strong workforce in the country was denied right to collective bargaining and to participate in trade union activities.

They said that laws relating to minimum wages, eight-hour shift, etc were rarely implemented as majority of workers did not even get appointment letters so they had no access to social security and pension funds.

They said that workplace safety related rules and laws were not implemented properly as was proven in the cases of Ali Enterprise (Baldia Factory) fire tragedy and Gadani oil tanker disaster that had left hundreds of workers burnt to death.

They said that Pakistan had ratified 38 conventions of the International Labour Organisation but these were rarely implemented.

They said that industrialists and exporters were earning billions of rupees owing to the GSP Plus status granted by the European Union, but flouted the labour laws that they were bound to follow under that GSP Plus.

They demanded that minimum wages be fixed at Rs30,000; labour inspection system be revived; workers’ rights as enshrined in the GSP Plus be ensured; trade union activities be allowed in all industrial units; contract system be abolished, etc.

Municipal workers

The central procession of the Municipal Workers Trade Unions Alliance was taken out from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s head office on M.A. Jinnah Road, which after passing through various city roads, including I.I. Chundrigar Road and passing along Shaheen Complex, concluded at the Karachi Press Club, where it converted into a meeting.

Various other processions of municipal workers were also taken out from DMC South, KMC Workshop, Machinery Pool Depot, North Nazimabad, Malir, Baldia Town, Korangi, DMC West and Shah Faisal zone which also after passing through various city roads joined the main procession and concluded at the press club and converged into the central meeting.

MWTA leader Zulfiqar Shah on the occasion demanded that all contractual workers be regularised, deceased quota and son quota be implemented, salaries and pensions be paid on time, utility allowance, project allowance, secretariat allowance, etc, be paid to all workers, etc.

Joseph Sanam, Shabbir Jadoon, Jan Mohammad Baloch, Yusuf Bhatti, Shakoor Tanoli and others also spoke at the meeting.

PML-N meeting

Speaking at a meeting, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz labour wing leaders Rahim Awan, Sabir Shah, Akram Malik and others said that while various facilities and better working conditions were being provided to workers in Punjab, the condition of workers in Sindh had not yet improved and their issues had not been solved and they were still facing hardships.

They claimed that owing to better and business-friendly policies of the federal government the economy of the country was picking up and job opportunities were increasing while workers were getting their benefits.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
17 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

THERE was a time not too long ago when the faces we see sitting in government today would cry themselves hoarse over...
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...