NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM JAN 20 TO JAN 26, 2020
‘ONLY SINDH HAS RECOGNISED HOME-BASED WORKERS’
By Our Correspondent Published: January 21, 2020
Saeed Ghani. PHOTO: EXPRESSSaeed Ghani claimed that Sindh passed Home-Based Workers Act in 2018, which gave these workers a status of recognised workers with social and legal protections like those of other workers. PHOTO: NEWS DESK
KARACHI: Sindh was the first province not only in Pakistan but in South Asia to have passed the Home-Based Workers Act in 2018, which gave these workers a status of recognised workers with social and legal protections like those of other workers, claimed Provincial Minister for Information and Labour Sindh Saeed Ghani.
He said that this while addressing a two-day conference regarding the inter-provincial exchange of experience by parliamentarians and senior government officials on the economic empowerment of home-based workers in Pakistan as the chief guest on Monday. The event was organised by the United Nations Women Pakistan in collaboration with the Sindh Labour and Human Resource Department.
“We are now working on the rules of business and looking at finalising them by the middle of March this year,” he said, hoping that other provinces would follow in Sindh’s footsteps to form the best practices for home-based workers.
According to UN Women’s Status Report 2016 on Women’s Economic Participation and Empowerment in Pakistan, around 65 per cent of the home-based workers in the country, who contribute Rs400 billion to the economy, are women. However, these labourers receive the lowest wages and do not account for legal protection and social security.
LHRD secretary Abdul Rasheed Solangi said that the provincial government had already recognized the home-based workers in its policy to formalise the informal sector and resolve the issues of this marginalised labour force.
Meanwhile, speakers highlighted a three-year project supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, titled ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Home-Based Workers and Excluded Groups in Pakistan,’ which mainly focused on capacity-building and creating linkages with conventional and digital markets for these segments, including transgenders and women with disabilities. The project also advocated for social protection and legislation on these workers’ social and economic empowerment.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai, Royal Norwegian Embassy second secretary Ingvild Haugland Tokheim, Punjab MPA Uzma Kardar, KP Women Parliamentary Caucus chairperson Maliha Asghar Khan, UN Women Pakistan deputy country representative Aisha Mukhtar, the labour secretaries from all four provinces, and senior officials from government departments, UN Women and partner organisations, participated on the first day of the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2020
SINDH CABINET APPROVES HOME-BASED WORKERS’ RULES, 2019: MINISTER
By RECORDER REPORT on January 23, 2020
Sindh Minister for Information, Archives and Labour, Saeed Ghani has said that the Sindh Cabinet has approved Home-Based Workers’ Rules, 2019, under which the home-based workers would be registered.
According to the rules a ten-member Provincial Council would be constituted to work on the mapping of the home-based workers, the provincial minister said while briefing the journalists after the provincial Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said a statement.
The Cabinet meeting was presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by all the provincial ministers, advisors, Sindh Chief Secretary and other officers concerned.
Saeed Ghani said that the Sindh Cabinet after deliberations also approved Sindh Prohibition of Employment of Children’s Rules, 2018.
Saeed Ghani said that the Sindh Cabinet also approved the amendment to the Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965.
He said that the cabinet was informed that the amendments in these rules had been done so as to make the installation of trackers in the motorcycles mandatory.
He said that after amendment in Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965, a tracker has to be installed in every new motorcycle in the future.
It had been left to the owner of an old motorcycle whether to install a tracker in it or not. Saeed Ghani said that the cabinet observed that the law should be same for all, and that all motorcycle users should install a tracker.
The Cabinet also set up a committee under Minister Transport, which would include Minister Excise and Minister Local Government, to review the proposed amendments and submit their recommendations, he said.
Furthermore, Saeed Ghani said that the Cabinet also approved the establishment of Urban and Regional Master Planning Authority under Local Government Department.
The Cabinet was informed that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had also instructed to establish this Authority.
Sindh Minister for Information said that Minister for Local Government Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Secretary Local Government briefed the Cabinet in detail, in this regard.
The Cabinet was also informed that this Authority would be authorised to prepare master plans for all the cities of the province.
Saeed Ghani informed that the Cabinet also approved the Constitution and Regulation of Sindh Councils Unified Grades (Services) Rules 2019.
He said that the Cabinet was informed that unified grades included the cadres of Administration, Medical, Accounts and Engineering (Electrical Civil and Mechanical).
The Cabinet was also informed that a pension fund had been set up for the employees of the Unified Service, in which Rs 50 million were being deposited every month by the Finance Department.
The Minister informed that when the issue of salaries in Union Councils was raised during the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister directed that the issue of the payment of salaries to the employees of the local government be resolved. He also directed for the computerisation of the entire system.
In addition, the Chief Minister directed to determine the exact number of the employees of the Union Councils, besides, auditing their salary system.
Saeed Ghani said that the Sindh cabinet also approved the proposal of Sindh Revenue Board of lowering tax rate.
Sindh Revenue Board proposed to reduce tax rate on the services of hotels, motels, restaurants, beauty parlours, slimming clinics, fashion design, health centres, cosmetic and plastic surgery.
Saeed Ghani said that during the discussion on the criteria of deceased quota, the cabinet was informed that at present there were 300 such cases which had been time barred.
Sindh Minister for Information and Labour said that during the discussion on provision of job claimed on deceased quota, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that he wanted to ensure that the job on deceased quota be provided immediately.
He said that the Chief Minister directed that this should be mentioned in the Annual Confidential Report of an officer that how well and quickly he managed the provision of job permitted under deceased quota. Saeed Ghani said that the Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary Sindh to devise a clear policy of the deceased quota.
Saeed Ghani said that the provincial cabinet also approved Provincial Ombudsman Bill (Amendment) 2020 and decided to send it to the provincial assembly immediately.
Cabinet members believed that when in all other three provinces the government appointed the Ombudsman, then the Ombudsman Sindh would also be appointed by Sindh government.
Saeed Ghani said that the Cabinet also discussed in detail the target and support price for procurement of wheat crop of 2019-20.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM JAN 06 TO JAN 12, 2020
WELFARE OF INDUSTRIAL WORKERS TOP PRIORITY: MINISTER
By RECOREDR REPORT on January 11, 2020
Punjab Labour and Human Resource Minister Ansar Majeed Khan have said that the welfare of industrial workers and uplifting their living standard is among the top priorities of the Punjab government.
He expressed these views during a departmental meeting held here on Friday. Punjab Labour Secretary Sara Aslam, Labour DG Faisal Nisar, Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI) Commissioner Tanveer Iqbal Tabassum, Additional Secretary Shiekh Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Secretary Workers Welfare Board Shakeel Bhatti and other officers were also present in the meeting.
On the occasion, the meeting reviewed matters regarding the formation of new legislation in the department, workers welfare fund, agreement with COMSAT, scholarships, action against encroachments, progress and Annual development projects, implementation on citizen portal, issuance of R-Five cards, betterment in contribution collaboration, progress on new schemes and coordination with PITB regarding ‘Ease of doing business’. Registration of domestic workers and other important issues also came under discussion.
While addressing the meeting, the Minister directed the officers to complete the ongoing schemes in the stipulated timeframe. He said that he is personally monitoring ongoing development projects and implementation on laws. “The department has been put on the right track; measures taken last year are now yielding results,” he added.
He further said that relief can only be provided to the industrial workers by implementing the new laws formulated for this purpose. He said that suggestions have been sought for amendments in child labour law.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM DEC 30 TO 05,2020
GSP-PLUS RENEWAL LINKED TO LABOUR POLICY, REFORMS
By APP Published: December 30, 2019
LAHORE: European Parliament (EP) Vice President Dr Fabio Massimo Castaldo has said more interaction and dialogue between EP and Pakistan for evaluation of poverty alleviation, jobs opportunities, labour laws and rights to the masses would play a key role in the renewal of GSP-Plus status for the country.
He expressed these views during a meeting with Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Sunday. Talking to the media persons before his departure, Dr Castaldo said the Pakistan Army and the people have rendered unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terrorism and the world at large should highly value it.
“I assure him (governor) of my full support to Pakistan on the extension of the GSP-Plus status and I hope the extension would be granted which would strengthen Pakistan economically and create new employment opportunities,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Sarwar said the vice president of the European Union has announced he would plead the Kashmiris’ case in the European Parliament which would be a victory of the Kashmiris’ stance. Dr Castaldo said people of Pakistan should be proud of their forces for defeating terrorism in the country to a great extent.
“I on behalf of the European Union (EU) send condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the war against terror”, he added.
To a question, the youngest EP member urged the need of awareness through education to save the youth from sectarian propaganda. Recognizing Pakistan’s financial challenges in the aftermath of housing five million refugees who fled their war-torn country, he said the GSP-Plus status offered Pakistan to overcome financial challenges and poverty.
He reiterated his support to negotiate more trade ties and forge consensus on proposals among different political families of the EU, adding that Pakistan must improve its security situation, secure the borders and implement more effective counter-terrorism measures. To a question, he hailed Pakistan’s initiatives like Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh minority, adding that such acts were completely coherent with the values promoted by the civilised world. He said the religious sites help bridge the differences and bring communities and countries closer while these let everyone felt integrated and accepted into the societies.
“I endorse the initiative to build Hindu temples, Sikh Gurdwaras as I understand the importance of protecting the rights of the minorities and India should follow suit,” Dr Castaldo said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2019.
34 BONDED PEASANTS RELEASED FROM PRIVATE JAIL
A Correspondent December 31, 2019
BADIN: Police raided a private jail in Mohammad Juman Nahyoon village near Rajo Khanani town late on Sunday night and got 34 peasants released from the captivity of a landlord.
Rajo Khanani police acted on orders of district and sessions court of Badin which received an application a few days back from one Essan Kolhi and his wife Guddi who sought freedom of their family members and close relatives from the private jail being operated by one Faheem Ahmed Memon.
The 34 bonded peasants, among them 24 children and five women, were produced in the court on Monday and the judge ordered to set them at liberty.
At the court, Faheem Memon outright rejected what he termed peasants’ baseless claims and said they had staged a drama to avoid repayment of the loan which they had failed to pay back to him.
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019
MASOOD CALLS FOR EVOLVE EXISTING LABOUR LAWS
By RECORDER REPORT on January 1, 2020
Former Federal Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood has underscored the need for redefining the existing labour laws in perspective of global market economy. In his keynote speech at a conference here on Tuesday, Masood said that major challenge for the workers is ultimate growth of capitalism as businessmen and capitalists completely dominate the world.
He said capitalists with the abundance wealth have started their muscles power to enter the politics and the business empire all over the world.
There is a growing need for the workers to evolve better planning and strategy to reassure and recognized themselves against the tyranny old ideas and practices have to be shunned. He said the new thoughts and labour models of prosperity and development is the need of hour.
The two-day conference was organized by Pakistan workers Training and education Trust (WE Trust) to commemorate NLF’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations here at a local hotel.
Masood was quite concerned over the population growth of the Country. If the population growth is not addressed now, we will be the third largest country in terms of population. “We need to redefine labour and new labour laws in perspective of global market economy,” he said.
Chairman We-Trust, Prof Shafi Malik, Rana Mahmood Ali Khan, NLF Pakistan President Shams-ur-Rehman Swati, former NLF Secretary General Zahid Ali Askari, Zahir Ahmed Awan, ILO representative Saghir Bukhari, NLF Karachi President Abdul Salam, Shahid Ayub, PIA officer Uniorn President Najibur Rahman also addressed.
Shamsur Rahman Swati, President of NLF Pakistan, said that the existing form of capitalist system needs to be changed to give the worker the right to education and treatment.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2019
GOVT URGED TO GIVE RIGHTS TO HOME-BASED WORKERS
JANUARY 2, 2020
KARACHI: Sindh Labour Secretary Abdul Rasheed Solangi said that Sindh has become the first province of the country that has enacted a law for home-based workers and now its rules are being formed so that this law could be practically implemented.
He expressed these views while speaking at the convention organized by the Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) to mark their tenth anniversary. He added that his department is making efforts to resolve the issues of labourers, including home-based workers. We are working on how to resolve the issue of labour contribution to the schemes of Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution and, other social security institutions, so that cars could be issued to home-based workers,” he said, adding that a cabinet meeting will soon be called to finalise the rules of Sindh Home-based Workers Act 2018.
However, HVWWF General Secretary Zehra Khan said that the global economic crises are affecting the world. She also riticised the Centre’s pro-International Monetary Fund policies during her address and said there has been an unprecedented surge in poverty and hunger, which has hit the working class and domestic workers hard. “During the last one-and-a-half year of the [federal] government, more than 1.2m workers have been rendered jobless,” she stated.
She mentioned that around 70 per cent of the 12m home-based workers are women. She said that despite the Home-based Work Act being already passed in the province, it is not being implemented yet because the rules have not been drafted. Meanwhile, the federal government and the governments of other provinces are not even ready to recognize these workers.
The convention asked the provincial government to announce the rules of the Sindh Home Based Workers Act 2018 without further delay. The authorities should speed up the process of lawmaking for registration of home-based workers with social security and Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, said the speakers adding that the contribution of home-based workers should be recognized and included in state data and statistics riports.