Labour class is engine of economic growth, says Sindh CM

  • Raza Rabbani asks for counter narrative to acquire fundamental rights

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday said that the provincial government believes that the real human uplift lies in the development of our labour class, which is the engine of our industrial growth and our economic system in general.

This he said while addressing a programme organised by Sindh Labour Department to observe the World Labour Day by distributing welfare grants among the labourers here at Banquest Hall of the CM House.

The chief minister said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) right from the tenure of its founder Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had been trying to protect the rights of workers. “It was Shaheed Bhutto who had presented first ever labour policy in 1972 under which the Workers Welfare Ordinance, Employees Old Age Benefit (EOBI) and Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) were introduced,” he said and added that the IRO had ensured job security of workers, as the industrial units or companies were bound down to give bonus to their workers.

He said that Shaheed Mohterma Benazir Bhutto further worked on labour laws and worked hard to eliminate child labour besides taking many other initiatives for labourers’ rights. She reinstated the services of thousands of workers who were removed by dictators from different organisations.

Talking about Sindh government, he said we presented a comprehensive labour policy devised in consultation with all stakeholders. He added that the Sindh government has made an effective legislation to protect the rights of workers.

He urged the industrialists to contribute as per their share in workers fund so that necessary facilities such as health, education and houses could be provided to the workers of the province.

“They are the strength of your companies and they are the power of our economy,” he addressed to the industrialists.

The chief minister said that he would work for the welfare of children working in shops to earn square meals of the families. “I have a plan to rehabilitate them by providing them stipend equivalent to their earnings and impart them technical education to accommodate them in different industrial units and factories,” he said.

He also recalled the services of Asif Zaradri who introduced 18th Amendment during his tenure as the president of Pakistan under which various labour laws and functions of federal government were devolved to the provinces.


Seperately, former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani called upon all the workers, intellectuals and progressive elements to prepare a counter-narrative to get their fundamental rights

Addressing a workers convention jointly organised by trade unions and labour supporting organisations at Karachi Press Club, he said trade unions were weakened and students unions were banned in Pakistan under a well-planned strategy.

“The state of Pakistan does not encourage a counter-narrative, so it has decided to weaken all other narratives,” he added.

He said the state wants to impose its own narratives, but it has miserably failed. It has used the tools of divide and rule of British era on divided the workers on linguistic and sectarian basis, he accused.

“There are only two forces in Pakistan—oppressors and oppressed, he said adding that the federation of Pakistan would be stronger, until all workers, intellectuals and progressive are not united to counter the state’s narrative,” he said.

Senator Rabbani recalled that the so-called “Decades of Reforms” in 1960s was a dark era when the labour movements were weakened and all the fundamental rights were usurped.

“History has witnessed that the oppressed nations have got their rights after prolonged movements,” he said adding that an organised movement is needed.

He said all political or labour issues should not be brought to courts and in the past whenever we have adopted the path of reconciliation, we have lost.

Trade Unions Defence Campaign representative Malik Lal Khan said that elite has a control over government, parliament and trade. He said that a worker cannot reach in the parliament because the system has been designed in such a way that only elite can reach there.

He said in 1960s trade unions had a force and they got successes through their movement, but that force has been weakened.