SPARC DEPICTS WORKERS GLOOMY CONDITION ON MAY DAY MEDIA BRIEFING

Abbas Kassar
HYDERABAD: Society for Protection of Child Rights (Sparc) arranged a press media briefing here on Thursday to media men on condition of workers/laborers in various work places in country especially in Sindh on occasion of International Labour Day.
National Manager of Sparc Kashif Bajeer, briefing newsmen, depicted a gloomy picture of workers condition saying that workers in non formal sector brick kilns, petrol pumps, cottage industry, bangle industry, agriculture and carpet industry have been deprived of the labour rights under covenants of ILO to which Pakistan was signatory. He said reason for this was that the labour department has not registered the workers of these industries due to which they are not entitled to get social security, old age and workers welfare fund benefits.
He said few years’ back no activist was allowed to enter area of any brick kiln but Sparc initiated Support Social Protection and Decent work of brick kiln workers and bonded labour in Pakistan in 2 districts of Hyderabad and Multan. This paved way for gradual progress.
Sparc arranged issuance of NICs to around 300o brick kiln workers, 307 of them were got registered as voters them to cast votes first time in history. He said 813 brick kilns were registered and 246 social security cards issued to workers entitling them free family medical facilities.
However he said bonded labour ministry in Sindh was abolished under 18th amendment with district vigilance committees being inactive and with it national steering committee on bonded labour also came to an end as well as plan of action on bonded labour of 2001 also became ineffectual.
He said many a labor laws were pending before Sindh government which it has not ratified after 18th amendment while Punjab Govt had enacted such laws.
He said peasants liberated under Bonded Labor System Abolition Act 1992 have not been rehabilitated and thousands of liberated Haris finding no jobs have returned back to farms of landlord and was again working in debt bondage with no freedom of movement being again kept under vigilance by armed men of landlords.
He also divulged on miserable condition of workers/daily wage earners who were paid only Rs.6000 to 8000 per month while Punjab government has increased the ceiling to 10,000 to follow orders of Supreme Court.
He also said anti bonded labour cells have been set up at offices of SSPs and human rights cell at DIG police office with efforts of Sparc that would help reduce miseries of bonded labor.
He told that district child rights committees have been set up in all districts of Sindh. At the end he elaborated key issues: abolition of concurrent list which ultimately abolished the labor related laws including BLSSA 1992; abolition of bonded labor ministry from Sindh; no definite gazette rate list of minimum wages; inactiveness of legal aid service unit; no rehabilitation plan for freed bonded labor Sind no implementation of supreme court judgment on social protection services.