ISLAMABAD-The struggle of labour class working in private industry on daily wages has become a thorny journey as it still strives to earn its bread and butter against low paid wages.

Meanwhile, the state constitutionally guarantees securing the working class rights in the social contract.

In small town of Hasanabadal, above a hundred labourers workings in different private industries of the city gathered to hold a march on World Labour Day. All participants were dressed in white traditional Shalwar Kameez, their union badge pinned on their dresses and they were carrying red and white flags along with banners and placards.

One large banner and few placards were paying tribute to labourers of Chicago who initiated a struggle in 1886 for fundamental rights and better working conditions for workers.

A small van carrying sound system and playing labour union anthems was leading the procession.

The convoy will march past around 6 kilometres in direction of the federal capital to raise their voices against the confiscation of their rights by industries of the city.

The mercury was rising; the convoy was moving slowly on the road when a small group of peasants and harvesters also joined the rally and started sloganeering for labourers rights.

“Long live labour-farmer brotherhood,” they enchanted the slogan.

Shahid Iqbal is 25 years old and holds a mechanical diploma. He was employed as a daily wager for last 3 years in a private company known for manufacturing water pumps. “My daily wage is Rs665 and that is all what I earn from the company which earns billions,” he said.

Carrying a placard of paying tribute to Chicago labourers, Shahid said that the private companies do not care about basic rights of daily wage labourers which is in contradiction with the Constitution. He said that dozens of labourers hired on daily wages through third party contract have no rights and facilities other than the wage on which they are hired. He said that the labourers working in foundry and furnace section have to work in high temperatures of around 1,800 degrees, but they are paid only Rs500 per day. “They are burning their health and life in furnaces but has no monetary benefit from private companies,” he said.

He said that the government should implement the labour laws written in the Constitution in letter and spirit and end the exploitation of daily wages employees in private industries. “131 years have passed when the Chicago labourers raised their voice for rights and still miseries of the working class have not come to an end,” he said.

He said that government’s responsibility was never over by marking a holiday on world labour day.

According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report, the Supreme Court in its verdict of 2017 declared third party contract system against the Constitution and fundamental rights and ordered all employers to retrospectively regularise their workers employed on contract or third party contract. The report said, during 2018, no steps were taken to implement that order and now the major trade and labour unions have prepared a petition to be filed in Sindh High Court to implement the order.

The report said that Federal Bureau of Statistics did not release the annual Labour Force Survey, despite the fact that it had already completed the census exercise in 2017.

According to the Trading Economics portal, Pakistan’s labour force reached 62.23 million in 2017, from 58.53 in 2016. The World Bank data, however, put Pakistan’s total workforce at 69.957 million in 2017. The HRCP report also said that there was no significant change in the lives of the labour force and they worked in difficult situations, mostly lacking decent workplaces and social security, devoid of their basic rights, and existing on low wages in the face of increasing inflation and price hike.