Bodies irked over unending bonded labour

SANGLA HILL-The representatives of labour, trade, workers and human rights organisations expressed concern over the “injustices” against the brick kiln workers regarding facilities and wages.
They said this during a meeting of District Vigilance Committee held at DCO Office. DCO Dr Usman Ali Khan was briefed on their problems regarding social security cards, wages, bonded labour, health and education. Arman Idrees Chattha, the chairman of Civil Society Network and member of District Vigilance Committee, said under the Constitution of Pakistan, bonded labour is prohibited. He said that agriculture and brick kiln workers were behaved as if they were slaves. He said the labourers were constrained to take advance payment as loan because of their low wages.
He said, “Not to speak of the borrowers, even their next generations remain unable to pay off the debt. In this way, slavery is transformed from one generation to another generation. Bonded labour continues at major brick kilns. In Punjab, a class of labourers is associated with the sector.”
The labourers’ leaders said that the government had recognised the brick kilns as industry but the labourers were deprived of their rights. Even after the government order, the brick kilns are not being registered, they regretted.
“The labourers are not paid according to the wages fixed by the government. Last year, the Punjab government had issued a notification regarding the fixing of Rs740 per 1,000 kilns. However, it is not being implemented. Recently, a labour conference was held under the Punjab government. It reiterated that the wages of labourers would be paid according to the notification,” they said.
After the conference, they said, the government had also issued a notification in this regard which irked the brick kiln owners. The DCO then ordered the district officer labour to register all the brick kilns in the district. He also ordered payment to the workers according the notification.

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