LAHORE: The government can increase the minimum wage of labour to Rs 20,000 if all the political leaderships practically show labour-friendly attitude as a labourer is not getting even Rs 9,000 wage.
These views were expressed by the discussants at the Jang Economic Session on ‘how to ensure implementation of minimum wage’.
The panelists were Dr Qais Asalm, Huma Aziz, Robina Jameel, Mumtaz Moghal, Azeem Bari and Manzor Malik while hosted by Sikindar Lodhi.
Dr Qais Asalm said the labour force was an asset of Pakistan while availability of basic civic amenities was their right. He said that ensuring basic facilities to labour force should be the top priority of the political parties more than their slogans and manifestos.
He called for active role of labour courts to resolve labour issues. He suggested an increase in the minimum wage to 15,000 per month while this should also be implemented on non-skilled labour.
Huma Aziz said every political party gave slogan of Rooti, Kapra aur Makan but none of them ever initiated any practical step towards it.
She said the government should introduced employment schemes for the workers rather than making them dependent on loans. She believed that implementation of minimum Rs 13,000 wage would be helpful to resolve the economic issues.
Robina Jameel said the labour was exploited at every stage while lack of will from political governments to provide relief to them also existed nowhere.
She said the Labour Department, district officers and other departments concerned should strictly ensure implementation of minimum wage.
Mumtaz Moghal said that increase in inflation rate adversely affected the women and children due to which they were also compelled to work.
She called for deputing labour inspectors at factories to improve the monitoring system. She said the welfare programmes, youth loan scheme and other plans should be active to make Pakistan a welfare state.
Azeem Bari said that 70 percent workforce was not getting Rs 12,000 minimum wage now how they would get 13,000 wages due to ignorance and careless attitude of implementing authorities. He said strict implementation on law was crucial to reduce the social issues.
He said special cell was established at the Labour Department but action on complaints would resolve issues. He suggested online based complaints system for labour where they could register their complaints and actions on these complaints could be monitored.
Manzoor Malik said the life of a labourer was adversely affected due to inflated utilities bills and inflation. He said long hour loadsheeding was not only increasing the cost of production of factories but also badly affecting the labour and salaried class.
He said industrialisation should be promoted to district and village levels to stop the rural migration. He called for focusing on employment generation projects.