Home-based workers still await registration as labourers

KARACHI - Home-based workers being the significant proportion of the workforce are waiting for their basic rights to be registered as workers. The HBWs policy has been notified by the Sindh government, but still the practical implementation is not seen at the grounds.

These views were expressed by HomeNet Pakistan representative Ume Laila in a press conference jointly organised with PILER, commemorating the International Home Based workers day on Thursday. Ume Laila from HomeNet Pakistan said that “It is only recently that home-based work has been recognised as part of informal economy in Pakistan with Sindh and Punjab having approved policies for home-based workers. Worldwide the workforce involved in informal work has not only continued but also expanded due to new market forces and technology. This is true for high income countries as well.”

There is an ever expanding percentage of ‘part time, irregular and unstable forms of work with little or no social protection’ whereas the scope of regular, stable workforce is reducing.” She further elaborated that “In the fragmented and dispersed production within the informal economy, Home-based workers in particular are generally given low-value and tedious tasks, such as cropping loose threads, basic stitching, beadwork, packing and labelling.

According to a recent study by ILO Home-based workers work hours and wage rates are placed at the bottom end of the informality continuum, home-based workers are chronically and significantly underpaid. On average, the home-based workers surveyed (and their helpers) work 12.3 hours per day, six days a week and derive a monthly income of 4,342 Pakistani rupees (PKR) from their labour.”

Karamat Ali from PILER addressing the media men said that “a Plan of Action for Home-based Workers has to be in placed if the policy for HBWs need to be implemented in true spirit”. He said that the identification and recognition of home-based workers, their mainstreaming into national and provincial economies, implementation of the Sindh policy for home-based workers are the steps that need ot be taken as soon as possible, otherwise the HBWs would be left alone without any protection.

Mahnaz Rahman from Aurat Foundation said that the integration of home-based workers into national and regional plans is important. Government should take steps for the data collection of HBWs in the province.  It is pertinent that the HBWs registration processes should start as the workers are in the state of dismal after having the approved policy. The steps for protecting their rights and giving them social security should be prioritized and come into action at once”.

Rehana Yasmin representative of HBWs said after decade of long hard work and struggle, the policy of HBWs has been finalized and presented in cabinet of Sindh for approval. “Government of Sindh immediately has to announce make the action plan and law for HBWs, We demand the law for HBWs Sindh.” She added, “HBWs should come under the social protection mechanism. The Sindh government should look into the development informal workers and utilize its potential for generating revenue for the province, she further said that Pakistan must ratify C-177 and fulfill international commitment. Sindh government should proactively adopt legislation, and start door to door registration of HBWs.

“We are living under hardships but no policy or laws look into this. There are no specific schemes for us, not a single mechanism of ascertaining wages, no complaint mechanism,” roared the women workers”. “Millions of HBWs are waiting for the registration and social security” said a HBW leader from Korangi Karachi.

Representative of workers federation said that HBWs issue is a labour agenda, “We demand the implementation HBWs policy. The laws should immediately be approved as a large portion of women are workers too. HBWs needs social protection, coverage, and government must bring them under social protection framework.




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