Federal govt-IMF deal affects labour rights, says Bilawal

PPP chief urges Centre 

to direct FBR to stop collection of Workers Welfare Fund immediately and funds 

collected so far should be transferred to Sindh govt 

KARACHI   –   Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the federal government-IMF deal has badly affected industrial growth in the country and it had also deprived our workers of their rights. He urged the federal government to direct FBR to stop collection of Workers Welfare Fund immediately and the funds collected so far should be transferred to Sindh government. This he said while addressing the distribution ceremony of Benazir Mazdur Card organised by Labour department at CM House. The ceremony was attended by provincial ministers, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Jam Ikram Dharejo, Waqar Mehdi, Industrialist Zuabir Motiwala and others, labour leaders and workers.

Bilawal said that the PPP government in Sindh was observing Labour Day by launching `Benazir Mazdur Card’ under which the workers would be able to avail all the necessary benefits and facilities such as education, health, marriage grants, financial assistance, scholarships and top of it pensions.

He said that it was Shaheed Zulfikar who had launched labour-friendly policies under which the workers had been given shares. There were trade unions to project their (workers) rights but when dictator General Zia came into power, he snatched away all the rights of the workers. 

Bhutto recalled that Mohterma Benazir Bhutto during her first tenure returned all the snatched rights to the workers and strengthened them and created more employment opportunities for them. He slated the federal government-IMF deal and said that it had badly affected industrial growth. When industrial growth is stopped, the employment opportunities are shrink, he said and added today thousands of workers had been rendered jobless because the industrial production has come down.  

The chairman congratulated the provincial government for launching Benazir Mazdoor Card and directed the chief minister to enhance the benefits of the card. He said that PPP government during the tenure of president Zardari had strengthed agriculture and industrial sectors. “We had issued Benazir Income Support Card to poor women so that they could meet their needs,” he said.      

Addressing the ceremony, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah said that his government believed in serving the poorest of the poor, including vulnerable segment of the society and was committed to provide them their due status and respect. Shah said that under the 18th Amendment, the Concurrent Legislative List had been abolished and all the subjects enumerated in the list including ‘Labour’ have been devolved to the provinces. He added that the Sindh govt had enacted numerous laws to protect the rights of workers. “I am proud to say that the provincial government had enacted 16 labour friendly laws,” he said.

The CM said that the labour department had organised first Sindh Labour Tripartite Conference on 11th December 2017, wherein one of the recommendations was to ‘Universalise Social Security in Sindh’. “Based on the recommendations the Sindh government announced first Labour Policy in February, 2018,” he said and added that his government on the instruction of the chairman PPP decided that the Social Security would be made universal. “The scope and coverage of social security will also be extended to all workers as well as employees, including self-employed, domestic and home-based workers,” he announced.

According to the concept of Universalisation of Social Security in Sindh, the workers who intend to register themselves with SESSI and pay contribution at the rate of six percent of minimum wage fixed by the government, shall be issued a ‘Benazir Mazdur Card’, Murad Ali Shah said and added with the card, the workers of Sindh would be entitled to have all benefits/facilities such as education, health and financial assistance available under Social Security Workers Welfare Fund laws. The CM said that SESSI entered into an agreement with NADRA in September last year for the issuance of a Smart Card known as ‘Benazir Mazdoor Card’ to the secured workers. 

Shah said that keeping in view the recommendations of Sindh Labour Tripartite Conference, representation of Employers/Employees in all the Boards and Governing Body of SESSI have been increased upto 40 percent and representation of Government of Sindh had been decreased by 20 percent, which showed the importance of workers in the decision making. “Not only this, but Industrial Tripartite Committees have also been constituted for redressal of the grievances of employers and workers,” he said.

Shah called for implementation of the 18th Constitutional Amendment in its true letter and spirit as well as immediate devolution of Workers Welfare Fund and EOBI to Sindh Province. He also urged the federal government to provide due share of Sindh province in WWF and in EOBI and also transfer assets and property to the Sindh government. Shah urged the federal government to direct FBR to stop collection of Workers Welfare Fund immediately and the funds collected so far may be transferred to Sindh government.

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