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KARACHI: Speakers at a meeting on Friday demanded that rules under the Home-Based Workers Act 2018 be framed as soon as possible so that workers could benefit from the new law.

Speaking at a consultative meeting organised by the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), they said that now, after the passage of the law the home-based (HB) workers had been recognised as workers in legal terms and were entitled to get all benefits that were available to industrial workers etc.

Senior trade unionist and Peoples Labour Bureau leader Habibuddin Junaidi said that efforts should be made to approach the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution, the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution, the Workers Welfare Board and other such workers’ welfare organisations so that HB workers’ registration process with these organisations could be initiated.

He, however, expressed regret over the slow pace of government’s working and cited an example that though minimum wage of Rs16,200 per month had been announced some time back, it had not yet been notified, so the workers were not yet able to get it.

Nasir Mansoor of the NTUF said that rules under the act be framed as soon as possible so that registration process of workers could be initiated and they could get benefits that were available to other workers.

He said that though the International Labour Organisation had announced the Convention relating to home-based workers (ILO C 177) in 1996, only a few countries had so far ratified it.

Within Pakistan, the Sindh government was among the first which had formulated a law about it. But the law could not be implemented unless rules were framed, he added.

HBWWF official Zehra Khan demanded that a home-based workers council at the provincial level be formed and fund for the home-based workers be set up instantly so that it could be used for skill development and betterment of workers.

A 12-member committee was also formed at the meeting to review lacunas in the law by studying the proposed bill and the act passed by the assembly.

This committee would also see as to how the act could be made purposeful by suggesting amendments to other related laws like Sessi and EOBI laws.

Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) said that some lacunas had been identified in the newly passed act so efforts should be made to amend the law to plug these gaps and further strengthen the act.

Farrukh Zaidi of the labour department, Shaheen Mangi of the Minimum Wage Board, Faseeh Karim of the Employers Federation, Farhat Parween, Mir Zulfiqar, Liaquat Mangi, workers’ representatives Saira Feroz, Basit Ali, Riaz Abbasi and others also participated in the discussion at the meeting.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018