SIALKOT - The participants of a provincial workshop passed a unanimous resolution demanding security of home-based workers’ rights, and urging the government to endorse ILO Convention C177 and set up an independent commission in this respect.

The participants of the conference titled ‘Joining Hands with the Stakeholder’ also called for making amendments to the labour laws and reducing the number of workers from 50 to seven to allow establishment of workers’ union in a factory. They sought status of workers for the home based workers. They said that Nadra should be advised to include specific columns in the forms to record the economic activities of women workers at homes. The workshop was conducted jointly be Baidarie Sialkot and the Home Net Pakistan in collaboration with UN-Women and ILO Pakistan.

It was demanded further that amendments should be made to the Social Security Ordinance to provide similar facilities of social security to the workers in informal sector as are being given to the workers in the formal sector. Special mechanism should also be developed to ensure that the home based workers also get legal minimum wage. The conference also suggested that there was an urgent need to develop a comprehensive system for  registration of  all such at district, provincial and national levels.

Addressing the workshop, HNP Executive Director Ms Umme Laila appraised the house of the developments being taken place in the process of policy formulation for the workers. He commended the government for including a column, in the Censes Forms, meant for collecting data regarding nature of work being done by the women at their homes. 

Baidarie Sialkot President Hina Noreen called upon the civil society organization working for the rights of the workers to join hands and forge unity among them for raising voice to attract collective actions for empowerment of the workers.

Addressing the seminar Mr Irfan Mufti, the chairperson of the Executive Board of Baidarie Sialkot, said that according to the National Bureau of Statistic there are approximately 7.5 million home-based workers supporting the informal sector of economy in the country. He said that the home-based workers were the asset of the country as this is the only segment that had provided big support to the retreating economy. He stated that the informal sector was making a big contribution to the national economy. Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister and Chairperson of Provincial Council for Home-Based Workers Zakia Shahnawaz, said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was committed to improving the status of such workers. She said that plans chalked out by the government in consultation with civil society organizations are effective and have the potential for producing long lasting effects. 

Former MNA and Women’s Rights Commission chairperson Mehnaz Rafi, said that the progress of industrial sector was vital for the stability of national economy whereas the industrial sector could not progress without giving the due rights of the workers.  She stressed the need for joint efforts of the government, corporate sector, business community  and civil society organizations for chalking out comprehensive policies and laws for improving the economic well being of the workforce.

Social Security Director General Sahibzada Anfaal said that house said that more than 52,000 industrial and commercial units and about 700,000 workers have been registered with the Social Security Institute and about 46,000 family members of these workers were the beneficiaries of Social Security.

He said that home-based workers should organise themselves in groups to get the benefits of the social security. Muhammad Tahir But stressed the need for creating awareness among the workers about the interaction with the factories.