No increase in real wages: PILER
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Karachi recently issued its analytical report reviewing the overall situation regarding working classes in Pakistan from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2009, which stated that there was no increase in real wages of workers in relation to sky rocketing inflation, and extreme labour exploitation in the shape of bounded labour and child labour.
The report said that despite the new democratic government being in place, no significant improvement has been noticed in the lives of workers. It highlighted the fact that rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining remained restricted, while a number of workers had lost their lives due to inadequate health safety arrangement at the workplace. Social protection schemes remained limited to only a handful, while hundreds of workers lost jobs under the pretext of the “financial crisis”.
The report underlined the legislation aspect, and said that while the notorious Industrial Relations Ordinance 2002 was replaced with the new Industrial Relations Act 2008, trade unions still had serious reservations about the newly enacted Act.
The report alleged that the labour leaders in fact were not consulted while formulating the Act.
The main social insurance schemes, including EOBI and ESSI, together covered less than 3% of the total employed workforce in Pakistan as only a small number of establishments with 5 or more workers were registered.
Across all industry divisions and occupations, the average Pakistani woman received a wage 3.6 times less than an average male worker. Paradoxically women constituted only a negligible 3 per cent share in the relatively well-paid occupation of ‘professionals’, the reported commented.
the other hand, peasants were also living in adverse conditions and
circumstances, as in many cases, feudal lords kept playing with the
lives and livelihoods of these peasant families, but no action had
been taken by the government against such injustices.