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Implementation of the Rs. 6,000 per month minimum wage for unskilled workers demanded

"Trade Union Action Committee for Minimum Wage" launched the campaign

Speakers: Yousaf Balochs, Chairman, National Trade Union Federation

Niaz Khan, General Secretary, Ittehad Labour Union Carpet Industries Pakistan

Aslam Miraj, General Secretary, Labour Qaumi Movement

Moeen Nawaz Panoo, General Secretary, Workers Union Rustam Sohrab Cycle and Motorcycle Factory

Rana Tahir Perviz, President, Adam Sugur Mills Chishtian

Nazli Javed, Labour Education Foundation

A press conference was held in the premises of Lahore Pres Club on 29th October 2008, to launch the campaign for implementation of minimum wage Rs. 6,000 for unskilled workers announced by the government. The speakers of the conference were of the view that employers are not paying salaries to their workers according to the notification of the Government. Mr. Niaz Khan, member of the Trade Union Action Committee for Minimum Wage and general secretary of Ittehad Labour Union Carpet Industries Pakistan said that 90 percent of the industrial and corporate units are not paying the notified wages to their workers. The prime minister Gillani announced the minimum wage in inaugural session of the parliament on March 26, 2008 but the employers have made a mockery of the government notification and workers are still waiting for the increment in their wages. He said in demand that government must enforce its law for minimum wages of rupees 6000 and should revise the amount of minimum wage for unskilled workers, in accordance with the rising inflation. Mr. Niaz Khan said that government should fix the minimum wage up to 12000 rupees per month for unskilled workers.

He further stated in demand that owners of the industrial and corporate units should immediately pursue the governmental decision about minimum wages otherwise the workers organizations would lay siege to their units. The speakers also passed on a warning to the employers that they must act upon the notification within 15 days; otherwise trade unions would encircle those particular industrial/corporate units, who won't pay the minimum wages to their employees. Mr. Niaz Khan said that workers would compel their employers to obey the ruling of the government.

The speakers said that they have identified some Punjab-based industrial and business outlets, which are not paying minimum wages to their workers. The list of such outlets consist of Gourmet Bakers, Cakes & Bakes, Carpet units, New Khan Bus service, Master Textile Mills, Crescent Bahoo Maan, Adam Sugar Mills, Chenab Fabrics and Crescent Sugar Mills, who are still paying 4000 to 4500 rupees to their workers.  Moreover there are several other small units, who are not even paying 3000 rupees to their workers in terms of monthly salary.

An eight-point charter of demand was also presented in the press conference and committee has expressed its concerns on the following issues:

·Government should take disciplinary action against all of those owners, who are violating labour laws and not paying 6000 rupees to their workers

·Government should devise the new labour policy and Industrial Relation Act but with the consultation of workers and 25 percent quota of outsiders in the trade unions should be ensured

·Labour department was stopped from labour inspection in the industrial and corporate units and resultantly, factory Act of 1934 has become irrelevant. So the government should lift the ban on inspection. This ban is only in the Punjab province.

·There is a dire need of legislation for labour courts to settle the disputes within three months, so the workers could get immediate justice

·Government should assure the provision of social security, employees old-age benefit and workers welfare fund in all of the industrial & commercial units

·Contract system must be abolished and government should force the employers for issuance of appointment letters to the workers

·Government should fix the monthly salary of worth 12000 for unskilled workers

·Government should assure/manage the provision of social security cards to the workers of carpet factories and brick kilns 

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