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Concern over govt response to needs of workers

Lahore

June 3, 2020

LAHORE:A meeting of representatives of human rights organisations, trade unions and labour rights organisations has observed that the government response to needs of workers has been very disappointing regarding protection of their basic constitutional and labour rights of job protection and social security.

It also noted that the situation on ground vis-à-vis workers’ plights and growing unemployment and labour rights was getting worse. Basic rights like job security, minimum wages, social security and old age benefits, occupational health and safety, freedom of association and collective bargaining have been compromised by a majority of employers and federal and provincial governments are not able to show a political commitment towards securing the basic rights of workers, the Joint Action Committee for Peoples Rights said. It also observed with great concern that in the lockdown situation since late March, many factory workers had not been paid wages for February. Workers were not informed properly about closure of factories in many cases and were left at the mercy of charities by the employers. Some big industrial groups announced sacking of thousands of workers from jobs in the biggest industrial employment sector of Pakistan, textile and garments. Many workers in factories in Lahore, Karachi and Faisalabad were able to get their wages only after the factories were opened again by the end of April and May. In some cases, workers were asked to work on lower wages in clear violation of the minimum wages law, it noted.

It also observed that the Sindh government had tried to protect jobs of workers by issuing a notification and then an ordinance but the implementation was not possible without putting the political will and resources behind the laws.