Karachi, May 01, 2018 (PPI-OT): May Day is the flag of revolt against the atrocities of capitalism and will continue to wave until the ominousness of the ‘blood-sucking’ system is over in the world. Capitalism is an anti-human system to its core that on one side has given birth to dark faces of hunger, poverty, unemployment and exploitation, and on the other has created social, political and economical anarchies and wide-spread wars.
Its 600 years history is full of malpractices in which it has wringed the basic human norms and rights and has destructed the environment to a dangerous extent. Because of it, the humankind for the first time in the known history has been surviving for its existence. Undoubtedly, the humankind progress lies in the end of capitalism and for that the workers must organize them politically to burry this system once for all.
These views were expressed by speakers while addressing the participants in the May 1 rally from Regal Chowk to Karachi Press Club organized by the National Trade Union Federation on Tuesday. The rally was led by NTUF president Rafiq Baloch as a large number of workers from different industries, including home-based working women, attended it. Similar rallies were also held in Gadani, Hub, Hyderabad, Sanghar, Dadu, Thatta, Tando Muhammad Khan and others.
The speakers said that capitalism has deprived billions of humans in the world of their rights and in Pakistan the situation was even appalling. They said that country’s estimated six-and-a-half-million workforce was denied of their basic and constitutional rights to unionize and collective bargaining. Ninety percent of the industrial units were not implementing on the minimum wage and eight-hour shift laws. Ninety-five percent of the total workforce was not registered with social security and pension funds because they don’t get appointment letters from their employers. Several factories were having almost zero health and safety facilities.
Labour inspection and laws were virtually suspended due to which the factories and other workplaces had become death mills for workers. The Ali Enterprises (Baldia factory) fire and Gadani oil tanker tragedy are stark reminders of the worsening situation. Along with the employers, the government and its relevant departments are responsible for the mayhems on the workers. Due to government’s apathy, the employers are free to treat their workers as salves. Among them, the agriculture workers in rural areas have been through the worst situation.
They said that according to the Labour laws and the Supreme Court’s orders, the contractual system was illegal yet the employers were using it extensively. And it seems that Labour laws have become a mockery of themselves. Attempts have been made through privatization to snatch away the little facilities that workers have in public institutions. It is a sheer conspiracy to hand over the services like transport, power, gas, water, education and health to businesspersons.
The speakers said that like in organized sector, the workers in unorganized or informal sector, especially in the agriculture and home-based industries, have been forced to work in inhumane conditions. For the agriculture, fisheries, home-based and construction workers, there are neither set working hours nor wages enough to make both ends meet. Four years on, the Sindh Industrial Relations Act, 2013 brought the agriculture and fisheries workers in the legal definition of workers yet there has been no practical implementation on it nor have the authorities made its rules.
Similarly, the home-based workers draft bill seeks pass through the Sindh Assembly that has nearly completed its five-year term. Pakistan has so far ratified more than 38 conventions of the International Labour Organization, among them eight states basic Labour rights, but there’s no implementation on them. The industrialists are earning billions of rupees from the GSP Plus status granted by the European countries but they keep on disrespecting the Labour laws that they are bound to follow in the status.
They added that the mainstream political parties have been in power in past more than a decade and none of them has introduced a concrete program to address the issues faced by the Labourers in the country nor it is in their manifesto. The governments represent the capitalists and feudal lords. It is the need of the hour that working class ending the fabricated racial, religious and all other divides organize on a platform and turn their unity in a parallel political force march towards the workers and peasants rule in the country.
The speakers demanded that:
Minimum wage should be set at least Rs 30,000
All workers, be they anywhere, should be issued appointment letters
Occupational safety and health and labour laws implementation be ensured
Labour inspection system should be revived
Employees Old-age Benefit Institution and other social security institutions be made accessible to all workers, regardless of they be in formal or informal sector
The minimum pension should be made equal to that of minimum wage and eight-hour working shift be ensured
The decision to privatize Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines be overturned
The right to unionize be given to workers in all institutions, including Karachi Ship Yard
All forms of contractual employment, including third-party contracts, be abolished
Workers be regularized in all government, public and private sectors
Workers’ rights enshrined in GSP Plus status be ensured
Standard Labour laws and rights be given to workers and implemented in textile and all other industries
Implementing on SIRA, the agriculture workers be given the right to unionize and collective bargaining
Like Labour courts, peasants courts be established in all districts across the country and implementation on Labour rights be ensured
Agriculture reforms be brought into the country and land should be distributed among land-less peasants
Predominantly, the peasants of Okara’s claim on their land be accepted and respected
All laws biased against women be abolished and their workplace harassment must be stopped and their claim on agriculture land be accepted
Home-based workers act be passed through the Sindh Assembly and the government should ratify the ILO convention 177
Mining workers safety and the Labour laws implementation on rerolling mills workers be ensured
For Journalists and media workers, the eighth wage board be formed, contract employment be ended and a legislation should be done for electronic media
Ship breaking law be made in the light of ILO guidelines and ratifying the Hong Kong Convention for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships
Due to concerns on Labour conditions in foreign-funded projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, they should be made public
Forcibly disappeared political, social and literary workers be recovered and for this constitutional and legal way should be employed
The persecution of Hazara Community in Quetta must end and concrete measures be taken for this
Brazil’s former president and Labour leader Lula Da Silva be released and the bogus cases against him be abolished
Emergency measures be taken to provide basic amenities like water, power, transport and communication in workers localities
Those who spoke to rally include NTUF deputy general secretary Nasir Mansoor, president Rafiq Baloch, general secretary Ghani Zaman Awan, Sindh president Gul Rehman, provincial general secretary Riaz Abbasi, information secretary Mushtaq Ali Shan, Home Based Women Workers Federation general secretary Zehra Khan, other office bearers Saira Feroz and Shabnam Azam, Ship Breaking Workers Union Gadani president Bashir Mehmoodani, Ali Enterprises (Baldia factory) Fire Affectees Association chairperson Saeeda Khatoon and others.
For more information, contact:
Deputy General Secretary,
National Trade Union Federation Pakistan (NTUF)
Office No. 726, Mashriq Centre, Gulshan-e-Iqbal,
Block No. 14, National Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org