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PoK: Labourers in Gilgit-Baltistan organise protests for fixed employment contract

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Several labourers and daily wagers organised a protest near Yaadgar-e-Shuhada in Pakistan for a fixed employment contract, to be treated equally to permanent workers in terms of service conditions, including wages, allowances, benefits, and hours of work, Pamir Times reported.

The workers raised their demands to earn a fixed compensation rate for a day of hard work.

During the protest on the sidelines of International Labour Day, a local labour leader stated, “Today when the world celebrates World Labor Day, our political representatives use fuel that comes out of our pockets and taxes. Additionally, they stay in homes that we labourers have built. Moreover, the people of GB also enjoy this day as a holiday but in reality, we labour continuously suffer financially.”

While raising the issue of the absence of any daily wager laws in Gilgit-Baltistan, the leader further highlighted that there is no set compensation for any daily wager.

“There is no set compensation for any daily wager, we work for the entire day and sometimes get just PKR 1000 and sometimes even half of that. There are no laws that define what we will get, everything here is upon the employer. In some cases, the employers sometimes refuse to pay anything. And because of the absence of any laws, we are not able to lodge any complaints to retrieve our money,” he said.

Further, the leader stated that the ministers and top officials of the labour ministry enjoy all the benefits because of them, but never bother to listen to these labour’s problems or do anything for them.

“That department is useless for us daily wagers as they have never helped us to solve any issue,” he added.

Ehsaan Ali, an advocate and the former president of the Bar Council in Gilgit-Baltistan supported the issues raised by the daily wagers and said that the laws here don’t have any rule regarding the welfare of these daily wagers.

“The poor in GB have no hope of getting justice and a well-deserved basic pay. Moreover, financial atrocities are not just limited to the daily wagers but all sections of society are the same, be it, salaried employees, business owners, labourers, or low-income individuals, and there is no one to listen to them,” he said.