KARACHI: The Sindh government believes that real human uplift lies in the prosperity of the labour class, which serves as an engine for economic growth.
Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah said this while addressing on Tuesday a programme at CM House organised by the labour department to observe Labour Day by distributing welfare grants among labourers.
The CM claimed that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), right from the days of its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had been trying to protect the rights of workers.
"It was Bhutto who presented the first-ever labour policy in 1972 under which the Workers Welfare Ordinance, Employees Old Age Benefits Institution and Industrial Relations Ordinance [IRO] were introduced," he said, adding that the IRO ensured job security of workers and bound the industrial units and companies to give bonuses to their workers.
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Benazir Bhutto further championed the cause of labourers, the CM said. According to Shah, Benazir tried to eliminate child labour and improved labour laws. She reinstated thousands of workers who were removed by dictators from different organisations, he said.
Talking about the achievements of his government in this regard, the CM said his government presented a comprehensive labour policy that had been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders.
He added that the Sindh government had made effective legislations to protect the rights of workers, quoting laws including the Sindh Companies Profit (Workers Participation) Act, 2015, Sindh Differently-abled Persons (Employment, Rehabilitation and Welfare) Ac,t 2014, Sindh Workers Welfare Fund Act, 2014, Sindh Terms of Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 2015, Sindh Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 2015, Sindh Factories Act, 2015 and others.
Shah urged the industrialists to contribute as per their capacity to the workers fund so that necessary facilities such as health, education and houses could be provided to the workers. "They [labourers] are the strength of your companies and they are the power of our economy," he said.
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The martyrs of Chicago are commemorated on Labour Day, the CM said. He, however, added that he also wanted to remember the male and female workers of the Baldia factory on the occasion who were burnt alive in the city. "Their sacrifice will always be remembered," Shah said.
He also informed the audience about his plan for the welfare of children working in shops to earn square meals for their families. "I have a plan to rehabilitate them by providing them stipends equal to their earnings and impart them technical education to accommodate them in different industrial units and factories," he said.
The CM also lauded PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari for playing a key role in the introduction of the 18th Amendment through which labour related issues were devolved to the provinces.
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Former Senate chairperson Raza Rabbani also spoke at the ceremony. He shed light on the struggle of labourers for their rights across the globe. He also spoke about different legislations introduced by the PPP government to protect the rights of workers.
Rabbani criticised the prime minister for inaugurating the new Islamabad airport on Labour Day and removing the name of Benazir from the new airport.
Labour and Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah talked about the labour policy he announced in February this year. He termed it a big success of the PPP government.
Planning and Development Minister Saeed Ghani, industrialists Qasim Siraj Teli and Majeed Aziz, and others also spoke at the event.