Intro: Pakistan Industrial
Relations Act (PIRA)
By: Salman Ali
In 2010 Punjab government passed the
new labour law PIRA which LEF believes that they want the laborers to
work hard for their rights. It’s simply against their will. As many
trade unions met and they decided that we will not obey to this new law.
As we study Section 3 (1) of the Punjab Industrial Relations Act 2010,
which abolishes the workers’ right to form a union in an establishment
where less than 50 workers are employed, violates ILO Convention 87 and
Article 17 (1) of the constitution. This section must be repealed.
Workers of around 4,200 brick kilns in Punjab are likely under this
section to be excluded from the ambit of the law and from forming lawful
unions. The new Punjab labour law reduces the number of ‘outsiders’
allowed in a union’s executive from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. This
will harm the workers’ right to derive strength from the society
wherever union lacks expertise. The trade unions regret the failure of
the Punjab lawmakers to define the role and obligations of ‘contractor’.
Unions also protest against the fact that the law approved by the Punjab
Assembly is less friendly to labour than the Ordinance it was asked to
debate and turn it into an Act.
LEF ( Labour Education
Foundation) have a positive stance that
a tripartite mechanism between workers, employers and the government
used for resolution of labour laws has not found a place in the Punjab
law. It is a matter of concern that a proposal to that effect by workers
and employers prior to the enactment of this law has been ignored.
Workers’ councils that had representation both from workers and from
employers have also been abolished. Both mechanisms must be restored to
give the workers and employers sufficient say in resolving work-related
disputes. LEF demands that all matters concerning labour must be decided
after due consultation with all stakeholders as laid down in ILO
Convention 144. LEF have a
strong belief that right to work, to a fair wage and social security are
essential for paying due respect to the right to life and called upon
all authorities to conform to the ILO conventions and fulfill the
state’s obligations to the workers under the recently ratified ICESCR.