Labor laws: Would Government redress the grievances of workers?


labor laws


Ineffective complaint mechanisms coupled with missing coordination among grievance registration and redressing systems, and lack of awareness about their availability have been identified as major hurdles in access to justice for the migrant workers in a study.  Conducted by the Punjab labour department with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the study has also prepared some suggestions to rectify the situation as thousands of grievances are piling up with various authorities. The report will be shared with the federal authorities by the ILO soon. The purpose of the study was to see where and how a complaint could be enlisted, how it could be followed up, how easy it is to get a complaint registered, lay claims (if any) and get compensation, an ILO official told Media. Under the Overseas Pakistanis Ministry, the study found that multiple forms are available to workers to lodge their complaints both within and outside the country. However, what was unsurprising is their effectiveness – their impact almost invisible, underlining the need for flagging the gaps and weaknesses in the existing mechanisms.Over 6,000 plus complaints per year are registered by migrant workers on an average on issues ranging from foreign exchange remittances to passport, death and disability compensation. However, we continue to ignore the issue, giving vague statements of how perhaps these workers deserved what they were paying for.While the Government of Pakistan is keen to shore up the economy through remittances earned from these migrant workers, nevertheless it is uninterested and unwilling to tackle the predatory practices of agents that entrap them, and to reform its policy. The constitutional duties of a Government to uphold the fundamental rights and protect the lives of its citizens were not limited to the geographic boundaries of the country. No legal justification exists for our inaction and the suffering of our citizens, abroad. The only way to ensure that our government cannot look away from this issue is to make it impossible for it to do so. We will never know how many of our fellow citizens suffer, just because we simply turned a blind eye towards them.