Labour Day today: Advance seminars call for protecting workers’ rights


LAHORE: The Labour Day will be observed in the city today (Thursday) to pay tribute to workers, who work against low wages and extra timings in violation of employment laws in order to meet their both ends. Today is a public holiday and all educational institutions, government offices and major markets of the city will remain closed. Political parties, civil society organisations, labour unions, socio-cultural bodies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and other human rights organisations will hold rallies, conventions, seminars, conferences and ceremonies in different parts of the city.Some political parties and NGOs held seminars and conventions on the eve of the day on Wednesday. The South Asia Partnership Pakistan held a seminar titled ‘Rights of Women Worker’ at Punjabi Complex, Gaddafi Stadium, which was attended by a large number of women and child workers. Representatives of trade unions, federations, confederations and the HomeNet Pakistan held a joint press conference at the Lahore Press Club where labour leaders, including Mehnaz Rafi, Shaheena Kausar, Chaudhary Yaqoob and Maria Kokab, spoke.They said that the role of the state in ensuring fundamental rights of workers should cover both formal and informal sectors, specifically home-based workers. They said that political parties should also reflect labour issues with special reference to women working in the informal sector in their manifestoes for the upcoming general elections.The labour wing of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Punjab chapter also held a seminar. PTI Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhry said that the country’s labour class was one of the most underpaid and overworked classes in the world. He said that the government, which had promised to raise the minimum monthly wages of labourers to Rs 18,000, has reneged on its promise and was barely raising the salaries of workers by 10 percent of their existing salaries, which was extremely unfair. He said that workers of brick kiln industry were facing terrible conditions and required immediate attention of the government. PTI Punjab General Secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid said that female labour was the most neglected and exploited class and that housemaids were subjected to torture and violence quite often but the injustices were never redressed. She said that the PTI had passed a resolution and had tabled a bill against domestic violence in the Punjab Assembly but the government was not allowing its enactment. She demanded immediate enactment of the bill so that rights of female labour could be protected.

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