ISLAMABAD: The key findings of a survey report states that none of the 324 brick kilns surveyed have issued an appointment letter to their workers and only 5.5 per cent of the brick kilns displayed abstracts of Payment of Wage Act and its rules.
Despite the enactment of legislation on labour rights, frequent warnings of higher courts, international commitments and establishment of monitoring committees, the brick kiln industry remains out of the reach of Punjab Labour and Human Resources Department.
The survey report, prepared by Labour Quomi Movement and Pattan Development Organisation, assessed the compliance of brick kiln industry with the provisions of Pakistan’s labour laws and country’s international obligations under eight labour-related conventions of the International Labor Organisation (ILO).
The report further revealed that as many as 96 per cent of the kiln owners did not pay men and women workers the same wage for similar work.
Moreover, 23.64 per cent of brick kiln workers reported prevalence of sexual harassment at the workplace and at only 2.42 per cent of the brick kilns knew about any mechanism that existed at the workplace to deal with the complaints of sexual harassment.
Around 97.6 per cent of the workers reported that their employers did not provide a health and safety programme for them.
The survey also put forward a set of recommendations for the government including the formation of District Vigilance Committees which must be empowered and facilitated to visit brick kilns on regular basis. Their monitoring and meeting minutes should be uploaded on the website of Labour Department on regular basis.
It further urged the Punjab government to launch an awareness campaign for kilns workers about their rights and laws through radio, TV and newspapers. Another recommendation suggested that the recent drive for the elimination of child labour from brick kilns must be expanded to other sectors too.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2016.