ISLAMABAD: Women Action for Better Workplaces (WAction), a project of Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA), shared the findings of its Monitoring of Workplace Report at a convention here on Thursday which spoke about the dismal situation of enforcement of labour laws in the country.
According to the findings, 52 percent workplaces monitored in five cities of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad do not comply with the provision of legal minimum wage to its woman workers, according to a press release.
Similarly, more than 50 percent factories and 30 percent workplaces from private and public sector are not giving paid maternity leave to its women workers.
The report was compiled on the basis of monitoring of 105 workplaces in the project districts i.e. federal and provincial capitals.
Women workers emphasized the need that the Labour Department must ensure implementation of the Labour laws by making inspection system gender friendly and more efficient.
Addressing the convention, Asim Ayub, Director Labour Department, Islamabad, highlighted the efforts of his department and acknowledged that enforcement of labour laws, despite efforts at various levels, remained a big challenge. He encouraged the Alliance members and women workers to join hands with the Labour Department as the implementation of the law was not possible without collective efforts of the citizens, civil society, employers and the government.
- Ziauddin, Chairperson of the Trust for Democratic Education & Accountability who distributed shields among the members of Women Workers’ Alliance for their outstanding performance in their respective districts, acknowledged the need for building such alliances which would highlight the magnificence of the issues facing by the women workers at their workplaces. He also encouraged women workers to formalize the alliances and form a national level grand alliance to take the agenda of women workers’ rights forward with more vigour and zeal.
Zahida Parveen Mughal, one of the very few women union leaders in Pakistan, highlighted the importance of women’s participation in union level activities and emphasized that the industrial relations acts at federal and provincial levels needed amendments to secure workers’ right to organize. The labour departments and the National Industrial Relations Commission, he said, should not register the unions without active participation of women.
Fouzi Rana, who is a member of Women Workers’ Alliance and also member of Governing Body of National Press Club, Islamabad stated that although media was an important pillar of society to highlight the issues of women workers, however, the media companies themselves were violating labour laws. "Workers in media firms are not given contracts and without any legal document it is difficult for the workers to demand their rights," she added.
Talking about the ordeal of women workers in the media industry, she highlighted the importance of implementing the Harassment at Workplace Act 2010. She also highlighted the importance of display of anti harassment Code of Conduct that is mandatory to be displayed at all workplaces.
Tanzeela Sadaf, a private school teacher and member of Women Workers’ Alliance, shared the situation of women teachers at private schools and said the minimum wage law was violated in most of the private schools as teachers were not given salaries according to the legal provision.