KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Industries, Commerce and Cooperative Department Jam Ikramullah Dharejo on Tuesday announced that the provincial government has fixed the minimum wage at Rs25,000.

Talking to the media at Sindh Assembly, the government was aware of the issues being faced by common men and all employers and factory owners are bound to pay a minimum Rs25,000 to their unskilled workers.

A meeting of Minimum Wages Board Sindh held on June 8 unanimously decided to fix a minimum wage of Rs25,000 per month for unskilled workers in Sindh effective from June 1, 2022.

All the members of the board had agreed with the proposal of the chairman. On June 9, the Sindh government also issued a gazetted notification in this regard by fixing Rs25,000 per month for adult unskilled and juvenile workers employed in industrial/commercial establishments in Sindh.

In his speech on the floor of the national assembly on April 11, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a minimum wage of Rs25,000 per month effective April 1, 2022.

The Punjab government issued a notification on April 22 regarding the implementation of new wages from April 1, 2022.

Sindh Minimum Wage Board Chairman Asghar Ali Ghanghro in the June 8 meeting asked the representatives of both employers and workers to reach a consensus either to implement minimum wage from July 1 or April 1.

A member representing employers, Khalil Ahmed Baloch said the increase of Rs6,000 in the minimum wage is too much which would result in the closure of many industries and as a result, the workers would suffer. He said, “we are increasing the minimum wage to Rs25,000 because it is a political decision.”

Junaid Makda, representing employers, said the inflation rate is increasing day by day and it was necessary to enhance the minimum wage after unanimous approval of the board.

He said Khyber Paktunkhawa had increased the wage with effect from July 1 and if Sindh would do this, it would be justified. The minimum wage should be remaining minimum, not a maximum.

Mehboob Ali Qureishi, a member representing workers, said in 1970, the wages of labourers (public and private) were equal but now the salaries of government employees are higher than the private-sector employees and this difference is creating uneasiness among the workers.

Workers’ representative Muhammad Asif Khattak said a unanimous agreement on the minimum wage by all stakeholders of workers and employers would improve the industrial environment and boost industrial production.

Ms Zehra Khan said labourers had been deprived of a minimum wage for the past two years while inflation had risen sharply and one dollar is now equal to over Rs200. She also emphasised increasing the wages of skilled workers too which had not been enhanced for the past four years.

A value-added textile sector exporter said the next one or two months will be tough given the soaring cost of production due to rising power and gas costs, surging freight charges and higher landed cost of imported raw materials amid the rupee devaluation.

He added that much would also depend on foreign buyers’ orders and the demand and supply situation in world markets.

Published in Dawn,June 15th, 2022

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