ISLAMABAD: Labour leaders have demanded that the government should practically implement the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s conventions in order to ensure workers’ rights.

On the occasion of Labour Day, they said workers had been passing through a myriad of problems and an uncertain situation due to non-existence of proper labour laws and non-implementation of the international conventions.

The minimum wage, as recently announced by the government, has been fixed at Rs25,000 per month which is too low to fulfil workers’ daily-use requirements, they said, and regretted that even this wage was not paid by most of the companies and business firms.

CDA Mazdoor Union General SecretaryChaudhry Mohammad Yasin said that there were more than 60 million informal workers but only nine million of them were covered by the labour laws. Other labourers related to agriculture, daily wagers and domestic workers have no protection of labour laws, he regretted. As a result, these workers are subjected to exploitation and they are at the mercy of their employers.

The constitution of Pakistan, Industrial Relations Act and ILO conventions guarantee full freedom to trade union activities but despite that only three per cent workers have been granted the right to form unions. He demanded of the government to do proper legislation to protect the rights of workers, discourage child labour, forced labour, ensure employment protection and proper wages for workers.

Labour leader Liaquat Ali Sahi said despite the passage of 74 years, successive governments made tall claims of taking steps for improving the employment condition in the country but the promises were never fulfilled. This is the reason workers have always been exploited during the last more than seven decades.

He also asked the government to practically implement articles 87, 98 which guarantee registration of trade unions and protection of their rights according to the ILO conventions.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2022

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