International Labour Day today
LAHORE: The government, political parties, trade unions and professional groups observe International Labour Day today to pay homage to the workers who had laid down their lives for labour rights in Chicago on May 1, 1886.
The Pakistan Workers Confederation (PWC) has planned a major rally in Lahore, while similar rallies will be held in other main cities and towns in the Punjab.
Workers will begin a procession in support of their demands from Bakhtiar Labour Hall under the leadership of Khurshid Ahmad, the PWC general secretary. The Workingwomen’s Organisation will also hold a rally against fascism, colonialism, downsizing, unemployment, inflation, discrimination and violence against women. The rally will start at the Lahore Press Club and end at the Punjab Assembly building. Political parties plan to commemorate the day with seminars and discussions to highlight the significance of the day and various problems facing the working class.
The Pakistan Awami Tehrik’s Labour, Farmers and Human Rights wing has organised a seminar at the party’s central secretariat. Party chief and MNA Dr Tahirul Qadri will chair the seminar. Senator Khalid Ranjha will be the keynote speaker.
The Jamiat-e-Mashaikh Pakistan is to observe the day by expressing solidarity with labourers. The party chief and Grand National Alliance (GNA) Secretary General Pir Fazl-e-Haq called for improving the lot of the working class, “which must be free of all exploitative laws and ordinances”.
The Pakistan People’s Party will begin a rally at the Lahore Press Club and proceed to Hotel Faletti, where a there will be a seminar to emphasise the role of the working class in the development of the country.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will hold a May Day meeting at its Garden Town office. The government has declared the day a public holiday. Newspapers will print special supplement to express solidarity with the workers who died while fighting for an eight-hour workday and other rights at Hay Market in Chicago in 1886.
Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in his message said as a result of his government’s worker-friendly policies, the socio-economic condition of the working class has improved and their honour has increased.
“The labourers of Chicago laid down their lives against exploitation. As a result of that valiant struggle, the rights of the toiling class were accepted at international level,” the chief minister said.
Mr Elahi said in consonance with the charter of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the present government has through tripartite committees in every district, ensured the participation of workers in the decision-making process at the grassroots level, besides giving representation to industrial workers and farmers in district governments.
The chief minister said the efficiency of training institutes has been enhanced, minimum wage has been increased substantially, the conditions of women workers have been improved and practical steps have been taken to educate the children of the working class.
“Revolutionary reforms have been introduced to eliminate child labour, establish labour colonies and increase the efficiency of the Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI),” he added.
Mr Elahi called upon the working class “to keep themselves abreast with the latest productivity techniques in accordance with the demands of international economics, so that by uplifting manpower, Pakistan achieves a respectable place in the comity of nations”.