ISLAMABAD - The opposition senators have urged the PTI government to ensure that no public and private sector organization should lay off any contract or daily wage employee during the on-going partial lockdown to contain further spread of coronavirus in the country.

The lawmakers of two major opposition parties PML-N and PPP in the parliament have called upon the ruling PTI at least to ensure job security of those contract and daily wage workforce who is unable to work due to the countrywide partial lockdown.

Millions of labourers, daily wagers and other working class have been out of work since the weekend when the federal and provincial governments ordered partial shutdown to limit the movement of public.

As part of the its measures to prevent further spread of the pandemic, the federal government on last Monday had deployed army troops throughout the country to ensure compliance of shutdown order with closing all factories, businesses, shopping malls, markets, hotels and public transports except essential services.  

Former chairman Senate and PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said that the federal government should immediately issue instructions to all autonomous, semi-autonomous and government institutions that no worker, contract employee or daily wage employee should be laid off. He further said that the government should ensure that all kinds of workers shall be paid salaries and wages in full during the pendency of this virus emergency.

“The federal government must also ensure that factories, mills, companies and institutions working in the private sector also implement the same and do not use the question of liquidity as an excuse,” he said. He added that if the government showed any slackness apart from being a humane question, it’d become a law and order issue.

The Parliamentary Leader of PML-N in the Senate Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan told The Nation said that daily wagers who have become unemployed due to the shuttering of major business activities in the country were facing a starvation like situation. “Even if they go outside by defying the lockdown, they can’t find any employment.”

He said that the government should first ensure job security of all such workers in both private and public sector, and then a reasonable monthly stipend for all of them should be announced till the situation becomes normal. Senior PML-N leader Senator Mushahid said that the government should also activate Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, an autonomous organization helping the government to alleviated poverty, to provide some ration to this unemployed class.

“Even the government’s decision to increase monthly stipend from Rs 2000 to 3000 for poor families is not enough and it should be brought at par to the minimum wage announced by the government,” he concluded. At present, the government has fixed Rs 17,500 as the minimum wage for any worker.