KARACHI - The National Labour Council (NLC) and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) have expressed serious concern over grave violations of labour laws by brand textile manufacturers, which do not provide safe working environment to their workers and throw them out when they demand their due rights.

They said that a textile manufacturer had removed 32 workers before Ramazan and had not reinstated them despite protests and instructions from the NIRC.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, NLC and PILER leaders Karamat Ali, Latif Nizamani, Habibuddin Junaidi, Shafiq Ghauri, Saeed Baloch and others said these textile brand manufacturers often provide third-party employment to workers and pay them wages, in many cases, less than the official minimum wages for unskilled workers that is fixed at Rs15,000 per month. Workers are not allowed to avail leaves and in case of leave in emergencies their wages are deducted for that period.

The workers complain that they work for more than 12 hours instead of 8 hours a day and no overtime is provided for extra work. The owners demand more productions per worker when they receive additional orders. These textile manufacturing companies earn millions of rupees from their sales in local markets during Ramazan but do not pay to their employees. Many textile manufactures also export their products, they added.

They further said that working conditions in these textile brands were unsafe as most of the companies often put locks on doors during work hours on different pretexts. Over 250 workers had lost their lives at the Ali Enterprises garments manufacturing factory in SITE Baldia in 2012 because the owners had locked all exit points during work hours.

The provincial labour department, which is responsible for ensuring safe working conditions and health and safety of workers at their workplaces and labour inspections, is not discharging its duties. There is a small number of labour inspectors to cover all industries. This has encouraged the manufacturers to violate labour laws. The labour leaders said that employers and industrial associations should take measures to ensure safety at workplaces and give all rights to workers.