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Legal cover stressed for home-based workers

LAHORE: The government should evolve an effective strategy to ensure provision of rights to home-based women workers by making certain to bring them under the umbrella of relevant laws.

This was the consensus among speakers at a seminar on ‘effects of Industrial Relations Act 2010 on non-formal sector’ arranged here on Wednesday by Women Workers Union at the Dorab Patel Hall of the HRCP in connection with the International Women Day.

The speakers included former MNA Mehnaz Rafi, MPA Amna Buter, Dr Fauzia Saeed, Women Workers Union president Fauzia Saleem, general secretary Shaheena Kausar, Muttahida Labour Federation chairman M Yaqoob and secretary-general Haneef Ramay, Altaf Baloch and Abdullah Malik.

They said that a large number of women had been contributing to the national economy by working in formal and non-formal sectors.

However, owing to discrimination, their economic conditions had not improved considerably and most of them were switching over to the non-formal sector by becoming home-based workers.

Quoting estimates, they said some 70 per cent of the national economy was dependent on the non-formal sector. Women home-based workers have no social or legal protection and are getting Rs500 to Rs2,000 a month as they are not covered by labour laws.

The government has failed to implement its own laws pertaining to minimum wages of Rs7,000 a month in the formal sector where workers still have no job security as they are being hired on a daily-wage or contract basis.

They demanded that the government should immediately approve and enforce the national policy on home-based workers, rectify Convention 177 of the International Labour Organisation; registration process should immediately be started; labour inspection system be revived and provision of social security and pension for all women workers be ensured; home-based workers should be given the right to set up associations and Section 509 of Protection against Sexual Harassment at Workplace 2010 Act should be enforced in letter and spirit.

Source: Dawn