President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday expressed hope that the provinces, keeping in view their responsibilities after the 18th amendment, will put in place appropriate legislative and administrative mechanism to ensure protection of the rights of the workers.
In a message on Labour Day, the president said, “May 1st should serve to remind us of our commitment to the workers’ right to dignity, decent wages and protection from arbitrary termination.”
The president, while paying homage to the Chicago Martyrs for their fight against oppression a century ago, he said “We renew our pledges made to the workers, peasants and wage-earners that we will not abandon them in their struggle for a rightful place in the society.”
The president said that a contended and satisfied labour force was central to the production cycle and national development and was the driving force behind every country’s industrial and agricultural progress.
“All claims to development will remain meaningless until the vulnerable working class is emancipated, empowered and rehabilitated,” the president said.
President Zardari said emancipation and welfare of labour has always been central to the struggle of leaders like Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
He pointed that during the past few years a number of practical steps had been taken for improving the condition of the workers.
These steps included reinstatement of sacked employees, regularisation of the contracts of daily wage earners, empowering the workers to seek legal remedies against any unlawful dismissals, restoration of trade union activities, promulgation of Industrial Relations Act 2012 and making workers and employees share-holders in state-run entities.
However, the president pointed out that the struggle for workers’ rights was far from over.
“We still have to go a long way in addressing issues relating to exploitation of the workers, child and forced labour and lack of representation in legislative assemblies,” he said.
He said following the 18th constitutional amendment the subject of labour had been devolved to the provinces.
“I am confident that the provinces are aware of their responsibilities regarding putting in place appropriate legislative and administrative mechanisms to ensure protection of workers’ rights,” he said.
The president, while greeting the labour and workers, also called upon them to continue working hard for the progress, prosperity and socio-economic development of Pakistan.