KARACHI: Stressing the need to ensure the provision of social security to workers across Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research executive director Karamat Ali pointed out on Friday that the absence of universal social security was the reason why most of the country's working class was deprived of basic facilities, such as health and education.
On the occasion of Labour Day, Ali said that currently, social protection was not a fundamental right and as a result, only a select few from the working class were registered with institutions offering social security and old-age benefits. According to data available to Ali, just 7.12 million workers are registered with state-run social security institution including the Employees' Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund. “An overwhelming majority of workers, not registered with any such institution, remains deprived of health, education, housing, death and dowry grants, as well as pension," explained Ali.
He said that ensuring universal social security for the country's 65.5 million workers was the only solution to their socio-economic problems.
Ali underlined that Articles 37 and 38 of the Constitution dictated that the state was to provide social protection to all citizens, but unfortunately universal social security had not been included in the chapter of human rights yet. "This shows that the state has not taken any serious step for the provision of such rights over the past 73 years, [and hence,] we have been demanding that the provision of social security services be made a fundamental right."
Speaking with reference to the lockdown, which he stressed had badly affected the working class, he emphasised that had there a mechanism for the provision of social security, workers might not have been as troubled by unemployment.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2020.