KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has directed the provincial government to review the minimum monthly wages of Rs25,000 it had set in the budget for unskilled workers, but also asked it to ensure payment of such an amount to all workers till the review of the declaration.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Adnan-ul-Karim Memon asked the Sindh government to refer the matter to the Sindh Minimum Wage Board within a week and the board must complete the process within two months and send its recommendations to the government.

It also directed all stakeholders to ensure their participation in the meeting of the board with their pleas, which must be considered by the board.

The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), SITE Association and other trade associations had petitioned the SHC challenging the minimum monthly wage of Rs25,000 fixed by the Sindh government.

After hearing all sides, the bench pronounced its order and observed that the recommendation of the board cannot be termed binding upon the competent authority (government) as per law and it was competent to make such a declaration, adding that the fixing of minimum wages was a legislative act.

However, it added that even after the declaration, if the government found any such rate was inequitable to workers or employers, it can refer the matter back to the board for re-examination.

The bench observed that the government must also give reasons for increase of the minimum wage rate against the recommendations of the board.

“While parting, it is necessary to add that since the government while disagreeing with the recommendation had declared the minimum wages as Rs25,000 per month which too from 01.7.2021 therefore, the government can’t take an exception to such declaration of ‘minimum wages rate’ while employing the “daily wages worker” or those working on “contingency”. Accordingly, the government shall ensure payment of such minimum wages amount to all such workers from 01.07.2021 till the time it (government) review such declaration,” it concluded.

Earlier, the counsel for petitioners submitted that in April the board had recommended Rs19,000 per month as the minimum rate of wages and forwarded the same to the government for adoption and issuance of a notification, but the same was not issued and while announcing the budget the Sindh government increased the rate of wages to Rs25,000 per month.

They contended that the impugned notification was issued without jurisdiction and in violation of law as it was done without even initiating statutory requirements as contained in the Sindh Minimum Wages Act, 2015.

A provincial law officer argued that the decision of the board was advisory in nature and the government was not bound to act upon such recommendations.

The secretary of the minimum wages board submitted that there was difficulty to call meetings and made consensus as employers were reluctant to attend the meetings.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021

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...