PPI Original Text (PPI-OT) – Representatives of workers federations express satisfaction over newly enacted ‘Industrial Relations Act 2012’

Islamabad, May 09, 2012 (PPI-OT): Representatives of workers federations have expressed satisfaction over the newly enacted ‘Industrial Relations Act 2012’, which allowed the fundamental rights of freedom of association of the union guaranteed under Article 17-A of the Constitutional. They also urged upon the provinces to replicate such workers friendly legislation in the provinces. The labour representatives were speaking at a public seminar and consultation on ‘Industrial Relations Act 2012’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday.

Ch. Manzoor Ahmed, Central Incharge, Peoples Labour Bureau (PLB) and former MNA PPP chaired the proceedings. He was of the view that provision of social security for labours is a universal right instead of provincial or regional matter.

He talked of workers suffering after 18th amendments and said, ‘we welcome the 18th Amendment but during its approval the workers bodies were not taken into confidence.’ He said, devolution of Workers Welfare Fund and Employess Old Age Benefits Fund (EOBI) would affect the labour community in smaller provinces who had week financially position and also affect the workers families settled in provinces other than registered workers. He also informed the participants that IRA-2012 is also being replicated in Gilgit Baltistan.

He mentioned some of the labour friendly decisions of present government such as reinstatement of the sacked employees, regularization of contract and daily wage earners, empowering the workers to seek legal remedies against any unlawful dismissals , restoration of trade union activities, Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme., increase in death grants and daughter marriage grants and construction of 80,000 thousand flats for workers around the country.

Dr. Nazre Hyder, Senior Advisor, SDPI expressed that the most important factors in progress of any country is the congenial business and industrial climate which in turn depends on healthy labour market practices. He said, the current labor policies had laid down the improved parameters of growth of trade unionism, protection of workers right and redressal of grievances.

Babu Idrees, Vice President, Peoples Labour Federation (PLF) spoke on various aspects of IRA-2012 and praised the current government for involving workers representatives in formulation of the bill. He said, now the workers have the right to establish or join associations of their own choice without authorization. He said, inclusion of women in executive of trade unions is another good feature of IRA-2012.

He said for the first time, same punishments are introduced for the employers which were earlier only meant for the workers. He also lamented the hostile legislation for against labours in Punjab and said,’ Union registration in Punjab is conditional to strength of fifty workers and after the satisfaction of Registrar IRC, which is the fundamental violation of Article 17 of the constitution and ILO conventions, ’he added.

Tariq Chaudhry, Secretary General, Peoples Labour Federation talked on various labour laws throughout the history and said, discussions are underway for new labour policy and they would try to ensure to protect the rights of workers. He said, new labour policy would allow social security for every worker and a board comprised of all stakeholders would determine the minimum wages keeping in view the various determinants including the inflation.

Akram Bunda, General Secretary, PTV Workers Union (PWU) highlighted some of the shortcomings and deliberated that IRA-2012 is promoting ‘pocket unionism’, which is mostly used by management of organization to divide workers unity.

Several other speakers such as Moazzam Ali Zahid, General Secretary, Postal Head office Employees Union (PHEU), C.R. Shamsi, senior Journalist, and representatives of various trade unions also spoke on the occasion. They stressed on firm implementations of labour laws specially in private institutions, extending the NIRC jurisdiction to banking sector employees, formulation of new labour policy in light of ILO conventions and removal of article 27-b.

For more information, contact:
Faisal Nadeem Gorchani
Coordinator, Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
38 Embassy Road, G-6/3 Islamabad, Pakistan
Postal Code: 44000
Tel: +92-51-2278134, (Ext: 113)
Fax: +92-51-2278135
Cell: 00-92-333-559 2210
Email: main@sdpi.org

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