The Sindh Government, with its announcement that the minimum wage will be Rs 25,000, has made a step to decrease the suffering of unskilled workers facing tough living conditions to keep their body and soul together. They have no rights and are treated like an inferior creature at workplaces. Another terrible phenomenon is that these labourers are engaged at construction sites by employers without providing them any safety gear that causes accidents. After the announcement by the Sindh government, Centre also needs to give a substantial raise to the labour force working under tough conditions.
By increasing the minimum wage, the Sindh government has made an effort to enable workers to cope with the increasing inflation. Over the years, the rate of inflation is surging very fast due to a sharp increase in oil prices at the national and international level. Labourers make a substantial contribution to the national economy, but little attention is paid to address their genuine concerns. Government has to take practical steps for the implementation of its latest decision about minimum wage, particularly in the private sector, where employers remain reluctant about paying higher wages to labourers. The writ of the government and all labour laws including elimination of bonded labour and child labour must be strictly enforced.
Low wages, extended duty hours, child labour, absence of social security benefits and unending loan repayments to owners are some of the grievances of workers and labourers that have not been addressed after so many years. Despite the enactment of Ordinance for Prohibition of Child Labour in Brick Kilns 2016 and other laws, the government functionaries have failed to ensure the provision of due rights to workers. The menace of child labour is still there while the exploitation of workers has been going on unabated. The brick kiln owners continue to exploit workers by not paying them minimum wage fixed by government. Besides, increasing minimum wage, proper arrangements must be made for education, health and housing facilities for families engaged with various industries. Women workers must be provided protection against harassment and discrimination at workplaces. Government needs to appoint monitoring committees to check violations of the law and address all genuine concerns of workers on an immediate basis.