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FAISALABAD: “It is imperative that authorities and political decision makers should recognise the vital contributions of women home-based workers and formalise their status within the workforce, thereby granting them access to essential social security benefits.

The government must demonstrate unwavering commitment to upholding labor laws concerning brick kiln workers, aligning them with internationally recognised standards established by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Any deviation from these standards, particularly the egregious exploitation of child labor on brick kilns, demands swift and punitive action against those responsible.”

Such demands were enhanced by the marchers of the rally being organized by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM), Awami Workers Party, and Freedom Bhatta (Brick Kiln) Workers Union Faisalabad on International Labour Day which was attended by as many as more than 200 women home-based workers, domestic workers, and brick kiln workers.

The keynote speakers included Arif Ayaz, Shazia George, Sonia Javed, and Asghar Shaheen called upon the authorities and political decision-makers to introduce pro-workers policies and set a living wage instead of a minimum wage. Executive Director Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) Shazia George said, “The law for women home-based workers without rule of business has exposed the insincere gesture of the lawmakers who are avoiding recognising women home-based workers as formal workers.”

Sonia Javed, programme coordinator AWAM highlighted, “The inability of women home-based workers to access social security benefits and protection schemes underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive legal framework. “Such context demands immediate attention from authorities and decision-makers to safeguard the fundamental rights of these workers,” she added.

The representative of Awami Workers Party Faisalabad Arif Ayaz said, “Current government policies favoring capitalists and feudal elites are perpetuating financial exploitation within the labor class. he stresses the need for immediate action.”

He calls upon, “The authorities must institute a living wage that accounts for the prevailing inflation rate rather than a mere minimum wage.”

Representative of the Freedom Bhatta Workers Union, Asghar Shaheen, said, “Despite having a legal framework and a crystal-clear policy for the brick kiln workers, they are unable to receive wages as per the government directive and further lack access to social security benefits.”

He urged, “The government must take immediate action to ensure compliance and protect the labor rights of brick kiln workers.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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