FAISALABAD - Representatives of different labour union has urged the government to raise the minimum salary to Rs15,000 and facilitate the labour with social security registration as more than 95 per cent labourers were yet to be registered for social security.

Moreover, feudal lords and industrialists sitting in assemblies are main hurdles in the way of the rights of the labour as labourers are not even considered humans by them.

This was the crux of speeches made by various labour bodies leaders during a discussion held in connection with May Day at Aiwan Waqt Faisalabad Bureau here on Monday. The labourers leaders also demanded allocation of 10 seats under labour quota in the National Assembly and 15 seats in provincial assemblies respectively so that labourers could raise their voice for their rights.

Bureau Chief Nawa-I-waqt Group Ahmad Kamal Nizami, in his welcome address said that today the feudal lords and industrialists were sitting in the assemblies with the votes of the labourers whose rights were usurped by them. He pointed out that though the PPP founding chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto raised the slogan of ‘roti, kapra and makan’, the labour class had always been subjected to cruelty by the successive rulers. He warned that if the rulers did not changed their policies and attitude towards the labourers, the time of Maulana Abdul Hameed Bhashani and Mukhtar Rana would no more a story of the past. The country is confronted with the worst energy crises, industries are getting locked, posing potential unemployment threat to majority of labourers which will result in law and order collapse,” he argued.

President Pakistan Textile Workers Federation Haji Abdul Jabbar pointed out that labourers were always crushed where there was no justice. He said that the situation of social security in the country was that the medical facility of a poor labourer got terminated with his/her retirement. “Labourers are only given Rs3,000 after retirement as old age allowance,” he pointed out. He urged the labour unions and labourers to forge unity to get their rights.

Labour Qaumi Movement Chairman Mian Abdul Qayyum said that on the pattern of the government which was not obeying the directives of the apex court, the factory owners also did not show regard for the laws governing the labour rights. If the labour leaders raise voice for their rights, cases under Terrorism Act are registered against them and the police also speak the language of factory owners,” he pointed out. He claimed that today labourers were confronted with more hardships and problems than that of Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

He argued that the government had fixed minimum salary at Rs7,000 per month but on the ground nobody could practically prepared a monthly budget in such a meagre income.

Deputy General Secretary Railways PREM Union Khalid Mehmood said that industrialists, landlords and bureaucracy always worked against the right of labourers. Though industrialist became landlord and landlord became industrialist in the country, the rights of the labourers were usurped by everyone,” he stated.

He claimed that 16 grade employee of the Railways paid Rs16,000 annual taxes to the government which was more than the tax paid by Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. He said that until and unless labourers were not given seats in the assemblies voiced for the labourers rights could not be made heard.

Arif Hayat of Pakistan Trade Union said that the labour laws existed but nobody ever bothered to get them implemented. He said that it was matter of shame for all the political parties that no government to-date came up with a consensus policy to eliminate unemployment.

Lady Health Worker Suriya Waseem said that the LHWs were compelled to work 24 hours in the field but were only getting Rs7,000 monthly salary.

Women labour leader Nazia Sardar, Mian Muhammad Ramzan Azad of Pakistan Mines Worker Union, Central chairman Pakistan Telecom Labour Union Zahid Kabir and Asghar Ali Shaheen of Bhatta Welfare Union also spoke on the occasion and lamented the plight of the labour class due to the worst apathy on the part of the rulers.