KARACHI - Trade unions and labour organisations have urged the government to review the tripartite mechanism of the consultation among employers, employees and government for formation and implementation of the labour laws in the country.
They demanded action against all responsible of the factory fire in Baldia Colony which caused deaths of over 300 workers.
Pakistan is signatory of 38 ILO conventions and all the country’s labour laws are affirmed the universal right to social and economic well being of the workers. Under a convention, Pakistan needs to ensure inspections of factories, whereas Factories Act provides provisions of the safety of workers, but in Pakistan there is gross violation of all the concerned laws, complained Karamat Ali of Piler.
He pointed out that the ILO has expressed concern over the non-implementation of factories inspection in Pakistan. On the occasion of 100th session of ILO in 2011, it pointed out in the report that Pakistan adopted a national enforcement policy in 2006, which embodies the government commitment to implementing inspection and enforcing the law. Such a programme sets the functions, goals and strategic objectives of labour inspection, the strategy for involving the main actors and approaches and means of action.
However, he pointed out that after the fire, the former Sindh Labour Minister had stated in press that the Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah had asked him not to conduct inspection of the factories. He also mentioned that there is no institutional arrangement for payment of compensation to the heirs of the deceased or injured workers because majority of the workers are hired under contract system, in which the employers need not to pay any facilities to their workers.
The workers of the unfortunate factory were also unregistered workers and they were not entitled to any government’s social security schemes. Industrial accidents are reported every other day but their workers are not paid compensations.
Under the Factories Act the employer is bound to submit a return every year and it is also the duty of the labour department to conduct inspections of the factories. In late 1980s, the government has stopped publishing the inspection reports of the factories, which was earlier practiced. Similarly, the workers have a right of formation of their unions, but trade unions are not allowed because the government is protecting interests of the employers.
He pointed out that under the ILO Convention, Pakistan needs to follow tripartite system for formation of labour laws in consultation with the employers and employees, but since 2001 no tripartite conference is held in Pakistan.
The government is violating the international conventions and this type of incidents would badly affect the exports from Pakistan.