Minimum wages act: No godote for worker class in Pakistan
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2015-12-12 10:18:57

Minimum wages act: No godote for worker class in Pakistan

pak

 

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to make a legislation to implement the Minimum Wages Act 1961 for domestic workers. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed this order disposing of a petition filed by a domestic worker, Subay Khan.  Representing the petitioner, lawyer Sheraz Zaka contended there were no guidelines with respect to minimum wage of domestic workers regulated under the Minimum Wage Act 1961. He said a notification in this regard should have taken place much earlier but over the past so many years a lack of concern on the government’s part was resulting in violation of the fundamental rights of domestic workers. He said the law required a judicial review in order to seek directions for the respondents to notify the minimum wages for the domestic workers keeping in view the International Law on Domestic Workers Convention 2011. He said it was against the dignity of domestic workers that they were deprived of minimum wages guidelines and forced to work against nominal sums. The much needed ruling has raised hopes that something will be done to ease the dire conditions of their lives. According to estimates, there are almost 8.5 million domestic workers in the country that mostly comprise women and underage children. However, no law exists that could protect their basic rights. Even the existing labour laws do not cover domestic workers. In January 2015, a union of 235 domestic workers was registered in Lahore under an International Labour Organisation project. More such unions need to be formed. Unless workers are mobilised by committed leadership within its own ranks, or through missionary zeal by activists, workers’ collective voice will remain suppressed. Unfortunately, no guidelines exist that could determine the status and employment conditions of domestic workers. This is the reason that they are forced to work in homes without any fixed duty hours. They cannot avail any holidays and are meted out inhuman treatment by their employers. They constitute a major workforce in the private sector. In a democratic state, it is the government’s responsibility to end this injustice against domestic workers. It needs to protect their fundamental rights and implement legislation as soon as possible. They need to be treated as human beings. They deserve respect from their employers and other people. The government needs to take into consideration their needs and enact laws that could stop employers from abusing their rights. Although the court has passed the order, the real issue is its implementation. Over the years, the Punjab government has shown apathy towards addressing workers’ grievances. However, by safeguarding the rights of the most marginalised segment of society, the Punjab government can set a good example for other governments. 

pk.shafaqna.com

Categories:   Pakistan ، Society ،
Tags:   pakistan ، Minimum wages act ،
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