KARACHI: Caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar was on Sunday informed that the provincial cabinet had not formally approved minimum wage of Rs32,000 in the province.
The CM was presiding over a joint meeting of the labour department and a 29-member delegation of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), led by its Executive Director Karamat Ali, here at the CM House.
He heard issues being faced by labourers working in various industrial units and ordered the department to resolve them.
The meeting took up the issue of implementation of the minimum wage of Rs32,000, which was announced by the previous government on the floor of the Sindh Assembly.
In reply to a question, Labour Secretary Shariq Ahmed told the CM that the Rs32,000 minimum wage was yet to be approved by the cabinet.
Baqar asks labour dept to ensure level-playing field for women workers; orders inspection of industrial units
The CM asked him to float a summary for the cabinet, get it approved by circulation and then ensure its implementation.
The labour leaders pointed out that some of the officers of the labour department were serious about resolving their issues, but due to their frequent transfers and postings, the problems remain unresolved. The CM directed the secretary to discourage unnecessary transfers and postings.
The CM was told that female workers were being offered lower salaries than their male counterparts. When the women workers reached the age of 42 to 45, they were considered old and retired, or were refused jobs, particularly in the textile sector, he was told.
He directed the labour department to take measures to bring to an end to the discrimination meted out to women workers in terms of their salary, regularisation and retirement.
Inspection of industrial units
The interim CM directed the labour department to start inspection of all the industrial units and check their record, number of workers, amount of salary being given to each and every worker, and check safety measures taken for the people working there and medical support offered to them in case of any incident.
The labour secretary said that his department was facing a shortage of officers for which a requisition had been sent to the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) last year. At this, the CM directed his secretary Hassan Naqvi to send a note to the SPSC chairman with a request to expedite the selection process of labour officers.
He also issued directives for overcoming the shortage of staff in labour courts.
The labour leaders also took up some issues of the people working in the companies/ establishments operating in different provinces simultaneously.
The secretary told the CM that such companies were not registered with the provincial government. The CM directed the department to identify such establishments or groups of establishments having branches in more than one province and seek an opinion of the law department as to how they could be brought into the registration net.
The labour leaders complained that the number of workers registered with the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (SESSI) was lesser than the workers registered with the Employees’ Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI).
The chief minister asked the labour department for reconciling the workers’ data of SESSI with the EOBI and report to him. He also told the directorates of the department to ensure the collection of data of home-based workers and labourers from companies, and register them.
He directed the department to prepare a concept paper for the welfare of the families involving their children in labour.
He said the labour department had resources to start such schemes in which children of poor families involved in child labour might be registered for vocational training and given honorarium to support their families.
He also directed the department to form a reforms committee to bring about improvement in labour laws for the betterment of workers.
He said the labour department would put up a proposal for the formation of the committee, comprising representation of workers, employers’ federation, lawyers etc, along with terms of reference.
Source : Dawn