Labour human rights advocates won the first battle but not the war, yet
Pakistan and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
After years of fighting, labor rights advocates in Pakistan have succeeded in implementing and increasing the law concerning the minimum wage in the third largest region of the country: the Sindh province (IndustriALL, 2022).
The labor rights advocates, such as the IndustriALL and the Home Based Women Workers Federation strongly welcomed this new proposal, asking and underlining the necessity to ensure the provision of basic human and labour rights for millions of Pakistani workers (Gossman, 2022). This new decision should raise the monthly minimum wage from PKR 17,500 (US$100) to PKR 25,000 (US$142) helping millions of workers in Pakistan (IndustriALL, 2022).
Nonetheless, this important step must be confirmed by the Pakistani’s Supreme Court, which ordered that Sindh’s minimum wage must be re-evaluated (Tribune, 2022). The same Court that in December 2021 suspended the same proposal (Gossman, 2022). Moreover, the last study released by the ILO, the International Labour Organization, showed that more than half of all the workers in the garment, textile, and footwear industry were paid less in 2014-15 than the statutory monthly minimum (Zhou, 2017). NGOs, such as the Human Rights Watch, have deeply demonstrated as there are widespread human rights violations in the working places, including child labors, failure to pay minimum wages and pensions, suppression of the freedom of assembly (Ijaz, 2019).
Human rights organizations strongly demand to the Pakistani federal and provincial governments to ensure that the entire Country, and not just some regions, meet its international obligations as recognized by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, while employers must be aware that they have legal responsibility for everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living (Gossman, 2022; IndustriALL, 2022).
Gossman, P. (2022). Glimmer of Hope for Pakistani Workers. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/02/04/glimmer-hope-pakistani-workers
Ijaz, S. (2020, May 27). “No Room to Bargain.” Human Rights Watch. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/01/24/no-room-bargain/unfair-and-abusive-labor-practices-pakistan#5835
IndustriALL. (2021, November 10). New minimum wage in Pakistan is a union win. IndustriALL. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.industriall-union.org/new-minimum-wage-in-pakistan-is-a-union-win
Tribune. (2022). SC orders re-evaluation of minimum wage in Sindh. The Express Tribune. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/2340670/sc-orders-re-evaluation-of-minimum-wage-in-sindh
Zhou, M. (2017). Pakistan’s hidden workers. Wages and conditions of home-based workers and the informal economy. Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---ilo-islamabad/documents/publication/wcms_554877.pdf