Trade unions for legislation to ensure bank transfer of workers’ minimum wage

Leaders of over 20 leading trade unions have called for legislation to ensure the transfer of minimum wage of workers in banks.

The Punjab government, in the recent budget, has fixed the Rs25,000 minimum per month salary for labourers but trade unionists fear lack of implementation of the decision in the private sector due to the absence of any law and mechanism.

During a conference on Tuesday, held to recognize the struggle of veteran unionists during the 1970s and onward at Punjabi Complex Ferozpur Road, Lahore, they expressed concern over the non-implementation of other labour laws including the Harassment of Women against Workplace Act.

The participants included Aga Zahid Islam from All Pakistan Wapda Hydroelectric Workers Union, Mehmood Butt from Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union Punjab, Arif Hussain from Punjab Labor Federation, Aima Mahmood and Fazle Wahid from All Pakistan Trade Union, Abdul Qayyum from Labor Qaumi Movement, Jaffar Khan from Railway Inqlabi Union, Ghulam Nabi from Pakistan Trade Union Federation and representatives of All Kasur Power Looms Union, Ittefaq Foundries Workers Union, Rice Export Corporation Workers Union Punjab, Old Age Workers Welfare Association Pakistan, All Pakistan Workers Confederations and others. A large number of women workers also participated in the event.

Speakers highlighted that over 1.1 million workers were registered with Punjab Employees Social Security Institute and hardly 30 percent (0.4 million) were issued health cards despite the institute receiving monthly contributions (in terms of money) of all registered workers from employers. The provincial government, they said, must issue health cards to all registered workers.

Since Europe’s GSP Plus status for Pakistan was set to expire in December 2023, there was a dire need to develop legislation and implement already existing laws for the protection of the labour class to ensure the extension of status, they said.

Labour representatives said Pakistan had ratified 36 ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions, including eight fundamental conventions, as of now. Application of international labour standards, they said, was critical for the country because of its GSP Plus status.

They also realised all trade unions should develop a joint platform to launch a struggle for the protection of the rights of workers in both formal and informal sectors.

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