LAHORE – The Punjab Labour and Human Resource Department has started preparing a draft agreement that will help the provincial government and labour welfare organisations to eliminate the worst form of bonded labour at brick kilns.“We are preparing a draft agreement that will help us as well as the other stakeholders to combat the bonded labour by ending the wrong practices of taking money in advance by brick kiln workers from owners,” Labour department Secretary Hassan Iqbal said while speaking at a consultative meeting of key stakeholders on the subject” Brick Kiln Workers: Issuance, Challenges and Recommendation” here on Tuesday. The Bonded Labour Liberation Front organised the event in collaboration with Action Aid Pakistan and the European Union. Hassan Iqbal said the draft being prepared would be finalised, published and circulated widely after involving all stakeholders so that it could be implemented by both brick kiln workers as well as the owners. He said the draft would also be helpful for the government to bring all brick kiln workers under a legal framework that would further lead to give them other necessary facilities under labour laws and regulations. He said the department had also decided to implement the government’s minimum wage notification in order to force the brick kiln owners to pay Rs517 (per thousand bricks) to workers. An exercise has also been initiated by the department to review the existing minimum wage of Rs517 and increase this in the light of the on-going price hike in the country. He said the NGOs could bridge the gap between the workers and the government by indicating weaknesses/flaws in the existing labour policy and other issues being faced by the workers. DCO Noorul Amin Mengal announced to constitute a special committee comprising government officials, labour activists and other stakeholders to review and ensure payment of minimum wages to workers by their owners. He also directed to revive District Vigilance Committee on Labour issues to get the labour laws implemented in letter and spirit. He directed the officials to frequently visit the brick kilns so as to resolve all the labour disputes according to their mandate. He also passed on directions to health officials to ensure coverage of all brick kilns in the city during the upcoming anti-polio drive so that the children of workers could be administered polio drops. Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) Secretary General Syeda Ghulam Fatima said the BLLF was mainly focusing the labour issues such as payment of minimum wages to workers as per notified rates, social security cover, issuance of identity cards and provision of health and other facilities as narrated in the labour laws. She said the BLLF was also initiating various rallies, moves and other activities for promoting the decent working style at brick kilns in various selected districts of the province.