Islamabad-The Islamabad District Administration is in the process of codifying four new laws to regulate the terms and conditions of employment of workers in the federal capital, according to the documents available with The Nation.

The initiative was taken on part of the Labour and Industries department of the ICT with the help of ILO, ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan. It was taken in the aftermath of the infamous Tayyaba torture case to help regulate workers’ employment and service besides prohibiting employment of children in the capital. The proposed set of laws would replace the existing 72 laws relating to the subject of labour, condition of employment and industries in the ICT limits. According to the officials, the existing laws do not cover the subject properly, therefore, ICT administration proposed the set of laws to ensure protection of rights of labourers and domestic workers.

The proposed laws include “Workers Employment and Service Conditions Act, 2017”, “Occupational Safety and Health Act”, “Trade Union Registration and Industrial Relations Act”, and “Workers Social Security, Welfare and Compensation Act.” These four laws would ensure protection of a child and domestic worker. Under the draft “Workers Employment and Service Conditions Act, 2017” Islamabad Capital Territory Area, “child” means a person who has not completed fourteen years of age. The initiative has been taken with a view to eliminate child labour at workshops, small roadside hotels, and houses in the capital city.

Draft of the two bills i.e. “Workers Employment and Services Conditions Act, 2017” and “Occupational Safety and Health Act” have been approved by the ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development. They have been forwarded to the ministry of interior for submission to the National Assembly for legislation. The other two Bills “Trade Union Registration and Industrial Relations Act” and “Workers Social Security, Welfare and Compensation Act” will be finalized soon according to the international labour standards, said Director Labour and Industries ICT, Rabia Orangzeb.

She said that another meeting between all the stakeholders would be held soon to discuss the proposed legislation. She said that, under the proposed law, some classes of employment have been totally prohibited from working. Furthermore, employment of a young person in transport of passengers, goods or mail, work in a catering establishment at a railway station, work relating to the construction of a railway station, a port authority, underground mines, above ground quarries, is prohibited. The director said that employment of a young person in any workshop where work with power driven cutting machinery like saws, shears, guillotines and agricultural machines is carried out has also been prohibited under the proposed law. Work with live electrical wires over 50V; all operations related to leather tanning process; mixing and manufacture of pesticides, insecticides and fumigation; sandblasting and other work involving exposure to free silica; work with exposure to all toxic, explosive and carcinogenic chemicals; work with exposure to cement dust; work with exposure to coal dust; manufacture and sale of fireworks explosives; work at the sites where Liquid Petroleum Gas and Compressed Natural Gas is filled in cylinders; work on glass and metal furnaces; work in the cloth weaving, printing, dyeing and finishing sections; work inside sewer pipelines, pits and storage tanks; stone crushing; lifting and carrying of heavy weight specially in transport industry (15kg and above); carpet weaving; working two meters above the floor; all scavenging including hospital waste; tobacco processing and manufacturing (including niswar); deep-sea fishing, commercial fishing and processing of fish and sea-food; sheep casing and wool industry; ship breaking; surgical instrument manufacturing; glass bangles manufacture and furnaces; spice grinding; work in boiler house; work in cinemas, mini cinemas and cyber clubs; bidi-making; manufacture of matches, explosives and fire-works; mica-cutting and splitting; shellac manufacturing; soap manufacture; tanning; wool cleaning; building and construction industry; manufacture of slate pencils; manufacture of products from agate; and manufacturing process using toxic metals and substances such as lead, mercury, manganese, chromium, cadmium, benzene, pesticides and asbestos has also been banned under the proposed law.

Under section 8 of the draft “Workers Employment and Service Conditions Act, 2017”, no young worker shall be required, or permitted, to work in any establishment more than seven hours a day, including the time spent waiting for work and the interval for rest or meals on any day. Section 12 of the bill says that every worker shall be allowed festival holidays with full wages in a year as notified by the government. The Section 13 says every worker shall be allowed leave with full wages for a period of fourteen days after continuous employment in an establishment, whether in the same or different capacities, for a period of twelve months. Every female worker shall be entitled to a maternity leave for a period of ninety consecutive days, says section 15.

Under section 67 of the proposed law, the government shall establish a Minimum Wages Board for the ICT consisting of an officer of the ICT Administration not less than BS 19 (Chairman); an economist of repute (Member); one person to represent the employers of the ICT (Member); one person to represent the workers of the ICT (Member), and an officer from ICT Labour Department (Member/Secretary). Two more members appointed by the government shall be added in the Board, as one member to represent the employers connected with the establishment concerned; and one member to represent the workers engaged in such establishment.

A separate court was constituted in ICT for speedy trial of labour challans in August 2016. A vigilance committee is also working under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner Islamabad to protect child labour on brick kilns in Islamabad. Additionally, four teams i.e. one labour officer and three labour inspectors of Labour Welfare Department ICT separately have been constituted for inspection under various laws including child labour. The Labour Welfare Department, ICT is responsible for the implementation of Labour Laws, notifying minimum wages and checking of weights and measures.