Representatives of workers’ federations have endorsed the newly-enacted Industrial Relations Act 2012, which permits the fundamental right of freedom of association guaranteed in the constitution.
Labour representatives from across Pakistan were expressing their views at a seminar on the Industrial Relations Act organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad on Wednesday. They urged the provinces to replicate the worker-friendly legislation.
Peoples Labour Bureau representative and former PPP MNA Manzoor Ahmed, who chaired the proceedings, was of the view that provision of social security for workers is a universal right instead of a provincial or regional issue.
He said, “We welcome the 18th amendment but workers’ bodies were not taken into confidence for its approval.”
The devolution of Workers Welfare Fund and Employees’ Old Age Benefit Fund would affect workers in smaller provinces which are financially weaker as well as workers’ families settled in provinces other than where the workers are registered, he added.
He also informed participants that the industrial act is being replicated in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Senior Adviser SDPI Dr Nazre Hyder stated that the most important factor in a country’s progress is a congenial business climate which depends on worker-friendly practices.
He said current labour policies had improved parameters for growth of trade unionism and protection of workers’ rights.
Secretary General Peoples Labour Federation Tariq Chaudhry said discussions are underway for a new labour policy encompassing social security for every worker.
A board comprising all stakeholders would determine minimum wages keeping in view various determinants, including inflation, if the proposal is implemented.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.