PPI Original Text (PPI-OT) – Poor Sector of Pakistan, south Asian countries are living under worst condition

Lahore, May 18, 2012 (PPI-OT): Labouring Poor in the Informal Sector of Pakistan and other south Asian countries are living under worst condition and there is no remedy and social security is being provided nor any relief is ever given to them.

The issues related to laboring poor were highlighted in a seminar, organized jointly by South Asia Partnership-Pakistan and Pakistan Institute for Labor Research(PILER ) the theme was” Laboring Poor in South Asia : Challenges of Expanding In formalization”. German Sociologist, Professor Mr. Jan Breman was the chief guest at this event. He is a well known figure as he is working on laboring Poor’s plight and related issues as a researcher in India for half a century and is on a good will visit of Pakistan.

While giving a keynote address on “Laboring Poor in Pakistan and Poverty,” Professor Berman raised his deep concerns over the pathetic plight and poor situation of starving laboring poor of south Asian countries. He said that there is a very close relationship amongst the poverty and poor labouring class. In Pakistan the labouring class is totally powerless and invisible.

These people work and toil very hard but in spite of that they always remain poor because they are not considered or acknowledged by the state , government and the politicians or political Parties and are never on their political agenda, therefore, he said that poverty and being labouring poor are the same and this reality give birth to labouring poor.

Professor Breman expressed his apprehensions that infect there is no space for them regarding what masses feel about them .With reference to his research, he elaborated that the labouring poor are also denied by the government because there is no fair counting of laborers and their poor working condition, during National Census and according to governmental facts and figures in 2008 there are only 17.2 % labouring poor in India , this figure was decreased after wards, which shows the state and government negligence towards them and no body care about their plight, how they are surviving and suffering?” I am very much surprised to know about the Pakistani labouring poor that they are also being neglected and a rejected class in spite of that they have a very deep connection with the economic and social crises in Pakistan.”

He told with grief . Highlighted the implications of the social sector in India ,he said that there are 4.8millions of labouring poor and among them 93% are working with informal sector and half of them are in the formal sector apparently , but they are not being given their legal rights as workers. Laboring Poor’s conditions must be same in Pakistan.

It is much difficult to dig out the exact situation of labouring poor that how they get the labor and from where they belong .In this regards professor gave the reference of India that government had setup a commission for the informal sector workers , the role of this commission is to collect the facts and figures of the labouring poor .

In 2004-2005, commission submitted a report, main finding was that 77% population was living on Rs20/ per day and Commission recommended to adopt a strategy to exit these workers from informal sector and bring them in main stream labour force, but the process is still in pipeline to begin with, he told that in the context of Globalization, Informal sector is not an issue but a solution to that. Because of Capitalism, he said that is the root cause of unemployment and the labouring poor are blamed to shirk work , are irresponsible and unorganized and are the culprits.

Professor Breman told that labouring poor go from one to another place in search of labor and get very cheep labor in towns , toiling hard to earn their bread .No place is some friendly or conducive environment for them , even they cannot afford to keep their families along with them.

Mr Kramat Ali , Executive Director PILER, in his speech also highlighted the issues of labouring poor class in the Informal Sector , he said that 90% people are working in the Informal sector . In many private ,Government organizations and Multi National companies workers are not given equal status, even there are no equal rules and regulations or legal rights for all the workers , and this creates injustice and discrimination among the workers , said Mr Karamat .

Talking on the implications of Industrial Relations Law , he told that this is also a discriminatory labor Law , it has deprived the right of unionizing of the workers and under this law inspection of the factories is prohibited there fore industrial hazards are increasing in Pakistan and now Pakistan is one of the top most contrary where incidents , like boilers bursting is at high risk .

He highlighted the issue of contract system , which is again a damaging system for the labouring poor He said that mostof the women folk are Home Based Workers and many are working as Home workers , there is no security or protection or any legal and social bindings to protect their rights , Mr Karamat told findings disclose that the Informal sector not only will exist but also will expand.

He said . Ms Rubeena Jamil, a labor leader and Director Working Women Organization in her speech, said that the policy of promoting Informal sector infect is very tactfully manipulated to minimize the wages of workers and up raising the profit and capital. Rubeena condemned this cheating attitude towards labouring poor class, and this is immorality to cut the wages and devalued the workers to create a space to expand Informal sector.

This policy is very popular amongst the Employers because this leads the labouring poor to be more disorganized and deprive them of the right so that they never get organized to fight for their rights . Civil Society must intervene such illegal practices , she emphasized.

Mr. Irfan Mufti , Deputy Director SAP-PK, in his concluding speech, demanded that labouring poor of Pakistan must be accepted as workers by the state and they must be given their due rights ,specially Brick line and Home based workers who are the most vulnerable labouring poor class . State and government should not ignore their situation and give them social and job security.

He appreciated Professor Jan Breman’s thought provoking speech. We should follow these valuable suggestions and experiences to give relief to labouring Poor of Pakistan, He elaborated.

For more information, contact:
South Asia Partnership Pakistan
Farzana Mumtaz
Media Coordinator SAP-Pakistan
Cell # 0331-4044981

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