KARACHI: “The deepening recession and Covid-19 have created huge problems for workers and a strong labour movement is necessary for implementation of laws to safeguard rights of workers,” observed speakers at a meeting hosted by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) at a local hotel here on Wednesday.

They regretted that industrialists were getting benefits from the government in the name of Covid-19, but not transferring them to workers.

The meeting titled ‘Dialogue programme — minimum wages and its implementation’ was moderated by Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) general secretary Zahra Khan.

Chairman Minimum Wages Board, Additional Secretary Labour Dr Zahid Hussain said that after 18th Constitutional Amendment improvement was seen in labour laws.

He said that many new labour-related laws had already been enacted in Sindh.

He said that the main issue of workers was that their appointment was not done in writing.

He stressed the need to issue written appointment letters to all workers. NTUF general secretary Nasir Mansoor said minimum wage was limited to unskilled workers only, but sadly many skilled workers were getting it also.

He said that minimum wages were not given to workers by a majority of industrial units.

“They are also not being paid proper overtime and other benefits. Meanwhile, the economic crisis is deepening and they will launch a movement if immediate steps are not taken to resolve their issues,” he said.

Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research said that as per Constitution it was the right of citizens to live life with dignity.

The set minimum wages are not enough and there should be living wages which is a constitutional requirement, he said.

Habibuddin Junaidi of Peoples Labour Bureau said without a strong labour movement, workers could not get their due rights, including the right of minimum wages.

He said record legislation had taken place in Sindh after 18th Amendment. He said they would work with the labour department to secure rights of workers.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2020

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