Government urged to raise workers’ wages in line with price hike

Trade unionists, political activists and workers on Sunday demanded that the government raise workers’ wages in line with rising prices, remove all anti-worker policies and allow workers to form unions in the workplace.

They vowed at the various events organized to mark International Workers’ Day that they would continue the fight for labor rights by following in the footsteps of the Chicago martyrs. They honored those who had given their lives fighting for workers’ rights in Chicago in 1886.

“Symbol of Struggle”

Representatives of more than 36 labor rights groups, pro-labor federations and civil society organizations participated in a seminar titled “May Day: A Symbol of Struggle: Constitutional Supremacy, State Accountability and Workers’ Rights at the Pakistan Arts Council in Karachi.

Labor leader Karamat Ali said May Day was one of the most unique days in world history. “Thanks to the struggle of the workers of Chicago, the eight-hour working week, which is the right of all workers, has become possible today.”

He said union membership is lowest in Pakistan, with no clear figures available. “These figures are not available under the Constitution of Pakistan, and for compliance with the ILO [International Labour Organisation] agreements, but according to an independent estimate, only one percent are organized in the form of trade unions”.

He also said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was himself the chairman of the All India Postal Staff Union and an advocate for workers’ rights. Regarding the minimum wage, Ali said that according to the World Bank, 83% of the population earn less than 2 dollars (about 371 rupees) per day.

“This means that the minimum wage is not paid to workers in Sindh, while even today, despite official announcements, the minimum wage is not available to ordinary workers.”

He said the implementation of Rs25,000 as the minimum wage is now subject to notification, so it is imperative that all workers come and fight together on one platform. He also said that workers today demand that the Quaid-e-Azam law and the labor policy of the founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, be implemented immediately.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Nasir Mansoor from the National Federation of Trade Unions (NTUF), Farhat Parveen from NOW Communities, Salahuddin Ahmed, former President of Sindh High Court Bar Association, Zehra Khan of the Home Workers Federation (HBWWF) and union leader. Liaquat Ali Sahi, Habibuddin Junaidi from the People’s Labor Bureau, Zulfiqar Jalbani, Deputy Chairman of Sindh Bar Council, Junaid Awan from Pakistan Railway Workers’ Association, Mahnaz Rahman from Aurat Foundation and Mirza Maqsood, Trade Union Leader.

‘50% below the poverty line’

Speakers in another debate demanded that the government enforce labor laws in factories and other workplaces, abolish the contractual system and guarantee the payment of wages through bank accounts. The NTUF and HBWWF jointly organized the event at the workplace in the SITE area.

Speakers said that half of the country’s population has already fallen below the poverty line. They said that over the past two years, more than 15 million people have been left totally or partially unemployed and five million more families have fallen below the poverty line; however, executives used helicopters to shuttle between office and home.

Union leaders said leaders were not taking any serious action to deal with the current economic crisis. Worsening conditions in the country may give birth to a terrible human tragedy, they added.

They said the new government also lacks a solid plan or program to bring about an improvement in the lives of working-class people. Incoming and outgoing leaders are deceiving the masses with catchy slogans, they added.

They called on all organizations of workers, leftist parties, human rights organizations, journalists, lawyers, doctors, paramedics, students, young people, women, of transgender people, minorities, teachers and intellectuals to provide advice to design a common program to deal with the current situation. crisis.

Speakers included Nasir Mansoor, Rafiq Baloch, Riaz Abbasi and Gul Rehman from the NTUF, Zehra Khan, Ainee Yaqoob and Parveen Bano from the HBWWF, Saira Feroz and Zahida Parveen from the United HB Garments Workers Union, Aqib Hussain and Bilawal from the organization of Alternate youth, the Bakht Zameen of the SITE Labor Forum, Saeeda Khatoon of the Baldia Factory Fire Association and Taufeeq Ahmed.

Comments are closed.