PILER launches report on labour rights in Pakistan

KARACHI: Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) on Wednesday launched a report on status of Labour Rights in Pakistan in 2015.

Report launching ceremony was held at Karachi Press Club (KPC). Karamat Ali, Executive Director, PILER, Geoff Brown, a trade union trainer from Manchester, UK, Zeenat Hisam, Habibuddin Junaidi, Noor Mohammad Khan, and others were present.

Addressing to ceremony Ms. Hissam said that the report, fifth in the series, based on secondary research, presents an overview of the important happenings in the year, impacting labour directly or indirectly.

Currently, Pakistan has a labour force of 61.04 million, engaged in diverse sectors of economy, at various levels of occupations. The bulk of our non-agriculture labour force, 72.6 per cent, is employed in the informal economy and if we include agricultural work force, the overwhelming labour force is toiling under informal work arrangements and the key issue with the informal economy is its lack of documentation, she added.

She further said that report consist of resistance put up by workers in various sectors and occupations and highlights two key issues: the current status of labour inspection system in Pakistan and gender wage differential, that is, discrimination against women regarding wages.

Ali said that despite the disabling legislation and repressive tactics used by the state and employers that make union formation and collective bargaining extremely difficult, the workers in the public and private sectors have continued to raise their voices against injustices and violation of their rights.

He also condemned the torture and arrest of the coolies at Karachi Cantt. Railway stations on Tuesday and demanded the government to end the contract system of workers at the railway platforms.

He condemned the government for police action against peaceful protesting workers and demanded to release all the arrested workers and withdraw cases against them.