Rana Plaza tragedy anniversary: Demo demands safeguard of labor rights

KARACHI: The violation of labor rights is rampant in Pakistan and the government should play its due role in the safeguard of workers’ rights, asked speakers of a protest demo here on Friday.

The demo was staged by National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) in front of Karachi Press Club on the first anniversary of Rana Plaza Bangladesh tragedy. The demo was led by NTUF president Rafiq Baloch and participated by a large number of workers including women. The families of Ali Enterprises fire victims were also president.

NTUF deputy secretary Nasir Mansoor said millions of Pakistani workers of textile sector have been facing immense problems as they are not being given due rights by industrialists. He said factory owners are earning huge profits but wages to labours and workplace safety conditions are dismally poor. He said the tragedies of Rana Plaza and Ali Enterprises happen due to lack of safety conditions in factories and mills.

Other speakers including Riaz Abbasi, Azal Khan, Zehra Khan, Ramzan Memon, Comrade Rasheed, Manzoor Razi, Shaikh Majeed, Muqadar Khan and Syed Hamid Mian demanded that the international brands on the pattern of Bangladesh also ink an accord with Pakistan so that Pakistani textile workers can also get their due rights and other facilities as per labor laws and standards. They rejected the audit certificates of social audit companies and demanded proper labor inspection as per law.

They asked to accept all demands of their heirs of Ali Enterprises victims including life-time pension. They said the minimum wages be fixed at Rs20000 and right of making trade unions given to workers. All workers should given appointment letters, social security cover and other facilities. Privatization should be ended and dictated polices of foreign lenders shunned. Discriminatory laws against women be abolished, contract system of labor ended and cases under anti-terrorism laws against labours withdrawn.

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