PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Workers Federation urged the government on Sunday to bring reforms in labour laws for the welfare of workers across the country.
The PWF represents more than 1,400 trade unions across the county with over 0.8 million registered members.
Addressing the participants, PWF’s Coordinator Shaukat Ali Anjum said there were more than 115 laws related to labour issues, including Wages Act 1936, Factories Act, 1934, Shops and Industries Act.
He stated that the laws were dated and needed reforms adding that the government also needed to take stringent measures to implement laws.
“There is a need for proper rules of business for both national and international laws ratified by the government of Pakistan to implement it.”
He stressed that reforms were needed in laws to make changes in formulation of trade unions. He pointed out that labours working in health, education and a few other sectors were not allowed to make union.
“Not permitting them to form unions is against the international laws and constitutes a human rights violation,” Anjum said, adding that they are allowed to form associations but those associations are toothless bodies with no power or authority.
“Currently only three per cent of the total workers in the country are affiliated with trade unions in various capacities while the rest of the 97 per cent are yet to be part of any union due to fear of their employers,” Anjum added.
According to Anjum, the law of minimum daily wages, which is Rs14,000 per month, hasn’t been implemented in several companies.
PWF’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa President Raza Khan said that the Labour Inspection system is too poor in all the provinces to keep check if the workers were being given their due rights. “There is need of proper inspection mechanism and amendments in laws related to inspection.”
He lamented that they faced greater problems where they had to take cases to the court as no law in the country defines workers or labourers.
“Penalties like Rs50 which were imposed decades ago on violation of labour rights are yet to be increased as workers’ rights haven’t been given priority by the government,” Khan underscored.