Committee formed to recommend new labour lawsSeptember 28, 2014
KARACHI: A Labour Solidarity Committee comprising representatives of all federations and trade unions of Sindh has been formed at the last day of the 3-day Sindh Labour Conference held in Karachi from September 26 to 28 to prepare recommendations for making new labour laws or adopting the federal laws after the 18th Amendment in the Constitution.
This was stated by members of Labour Conference Organising Committee Karamat Ali of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Habibuddin Junaidi, Dr Kaiser Bengali, Ms Rehana Yasmeen, Jalil Shah and others at a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Monday.
The committee would soon hold meetings and prepare its recommendations. The labour conference was attended by the labour leaders from different parts of Sindh as well as some key trade union leaders from Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. The resolutions passed on the occasion asked all the provincial governments to initiate the tripartite process before making or adopting the labour laws at the provincial levels.
They also called for establishing the Standing Labour Committees with equal representation from the government, employers and employees in each province as it is an essential requirement under ILO’s convention No. 114.
The Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik, who was the chief guest at the closing session of the conference announced that his government would implement all the relevant recommendations and a Tripartite Labour Conference would be held in Quetta by the end of October this year. For this purpose he nominated his advisor Dr. Kaiser Bengali as focal point.
The conference demanded of the government to end gender discrimination and ensure provision of remunerations to women workers equal to their male colleagues.
The participants of Sindh Labour Conference expressed serious concern that all workers in Pakistan do not enjoy the right of association as given in the Constitution of Pakistan and Pakistan has ratified the ILO’s Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948 (No. 87) and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).
They demanded that appropriate measures be taken so that every worker of the country can form and freely take part in a union at the unit level, sector wise or geographic basis. The Trade Unions Act 1926 had provided the right to every citizen of the United India except for Army personnel in the of the uniform, but that Act was later abolished by the Military government of Ayoub Khan and later an Industrial Relations Act was enacted in 1969, which does not provide unionization right to every worker and exclude the labour of agriculture, fishing and informal sectors, who constitute a large portion of the workforce of Pakistan.
After the 18th Amendment, Punjab government has introduced Punjab Industrial Relations Act, which exclude the organizations where less than 50 workers are working. Similarly, KPK and Bachistan have still not prepared Industrial Relations law.
They said the conference expressed concern over the unabated arrest of fishermen by navies and other security agencies of both India and Pakistan on violation of borders in the open sea. They said both the countries should stop this inhuman activity and allow the fishermen to leave if they cross the borders inadvertently. They asked the governments of both India and Pakistan to provide signs of demarcation into the open sea and sign a non-arrest of fishermen pact.
The conference demanded the government to declare agriculture sector as industries and the agriculture workers should be provided the same facilities like industrial labour.
The participants expressed concern over the performance of social welfare institutions like Sindh Employees Social Security Institution, Employees Old age Benefit Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund and presence of widespread corruption in these institutions. They demanded that all workers should be provided social security facilities from these institutions. They called for setting up high level Commission to probe into corruption in EOBI, SESSI and WWF and suggest means how to make their provide benefits to all workers.
The participants of the conference opposed the privatization policy of the present government and demanded that the plan to privatise the nationalized corporations should be withdrawn. They resolved to strongly resist the neo liberal economic policies, dictated on the instructions from IMF and World Bank and said due to these policies the economic conditions of the workers have deteriorated.
They said the Conference welcomed the provision of GSP-Plus status by European Union to Pakistan for exporting goods in European markets at zero rate of duty. But they pointed out that this facility is provided on the condition of implementation of 27 international conventions including eight Conventions pertaining to Core Labour Rights. They urged the government to take measures to implement all 27 Conventions to full reap the benefits of GSP-Plus.
The participants also demanded the Sindh government to declare brick kilns as industry and workers of these units be registered in Social Security institutions. They said the remunerations for making 1000 bricks in the brick kiln of Sindh are less than the units in Punjab. They demanded that the Sindh provincial government should issue notification of the wages of brick kilns every year and ensure implementation of the notification.