Workers bodies demand implementation of labour laws in construction sector

Karachi, April 04, 2020: The worker’s bodies and trade unions have welcomed the decisions of the federal government to provide incentive package and declaring the construction as industry and demanded the Prime Minister Imran Khan to provide the workers of construction sector the same facilities of industrial workers including their registration under various labour laws and provision of social security facilities.

In a statement issued here Saturday Karamat Ali, the Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER); Nasir Mansoor, National Trade Unions Federation; Habibuddin Junaidi, Peoples Labour Bureau; Liaqat Sahi, State Bank Democratic Workers Union; Zehra Khan, Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF); Farhat Perveen, NOW Communities, Qamrul Hassan of IUF Pakistan and others demanded that the existing labour laws should be mandatorily implemented on the construction industry.

They said various tax exemptions and other monetary benefits have been announced for the construction industry, which would boost the overall economy in the future. Measures be taken to ensure that those benefits should also be transferred to the workers engaged in various sub-sectors of the construction industry.

In the construction sector occupational safety and health measures are not taken, which often result in fatal accidents. Under the Factories Act and special law on occupation safety and health in Sindh and Punjab, the government should ensure safety of construction workers.

Currently workers in the construction sector are considered as informal workers and they are not included in the definition of workers in many labour laws including the law pertaining to registration of trade unions, i.e. Industrial Relations Act 2002. Although Sindh has included all workers in its industrial relations law (SIRA 2013), the labour is not taking benefit from that law as well.

Pakistan is a signatory of various conventions under International Labour Organisation (ILO) including the mandatory eight core labour standards, so Pakistan should make the laws accordingly and construction workers be given the rights of association and collective bargaining.

There is no record of the construction workers with the labour department so all the workers should be registered with relevant institutions like social security institutions, Workers Welfare Fund and Employees Oldage Benefit Institution (EOBI).

The minimum wages law should also be applied on the construction workers and the labour department should fix minimum wages for the skilled workers in the construction sector.

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