Punjab wakes up to labourers’ rights, occupational safety

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Against the backdrop of the loss of precious lives in the tragic industrial accident in Lahore’s Sundar Industrial Estate, the Punjab Labour Department has decided to accelerate its labour inspections using digital and mobile technologies, to make online factory registrations and implement the labour laws to ensure basic rights and occupational safety of the labour class.

In this context, Punjab Minister for Labour and Human Resource Raja Ashfaq Sarwar chaired a crucial meeting of the district labour officers at IRI Centre in Township on Tuesday and directed them to complete the online registration of industrial units and acquire stability certificates along with affidavit(s) from all factory owners on safety of their facilities in all industrial estates till December 31.

The minister told the officials that software engineers had been engaged for designing an application for streamlining labour inspections’ procedure. He also ordered them to accelerate labour inspections and complete school enrolment campaign of children of brick kiln workers in the given timeframe.

Prominent among those attended the meeting included Labour Secretary Ali Sarfraz, Labour DG Muhammad Salim Hussain, Director (Headquarters) Daud Abdullah and Director (IRI) Tahir Naeem.

According to the minister, the provincial government is introducing the Punjab Restriction of Employment of Children Act which will help bring laws pertaining to labour closer to the ILO Conventions with strict penalties to curb child labour against the backdrop of the tragic industrial accident in Sundar Industrial Estate.

During the meeting, Labour Secretary Ali Sarfraz said that in view of the loss of precious lives in the tragic incident, there was a dire need to accelerate labour inspections, make online factory registrations and implement the labour laws to ensure basic rights and occupational safety of the labour class.

Sarfraz said that child labour in industrial estates of the province would not be tolerated at any cost and performance of the district labour officers would be evaluated through labour inspections.

Mobil oil factory explosion kills labourer: A labourer died while another received critical injuries when a gas tank exploded at a mobil oil factory late Monday night.

Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion after which the factory caught fire. A fire tender reached the site and started rescue activities.

Locals claimed that the factory was producing sub-standard oil and had turned the water reservoir poisonous. Police have started investigations into the matter with no arrests till the filing of this report.