Labour bodies slam in-camera sessions on devolution | Pakistan Today

Labour bodies slam in-camera sessions on devolution

The labourers and the government of two traditionally pro-labourers political parties – the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and the Awami National Party – are at odds over the issue of devolution of the Ministry of Labour and Manpower. The labour bodies have demanded of the government to shun the practice of holding in-camera sessions and make all details of such meetings public.
As per the devolution of plan under the 18th Amendment, all the wings of the Ministry of Labour and Manpower pertaining to the welfare of the workers would be devolved to the provinces, which the two major coalition partners claim as a big achievement of the government because the devolution would fulfil the long-time desire of the provinces to abolish the Concurrent List of the Constitution and give them powers promised to them in 1973 when the Constitution was framed.
But certain labourer unions have severely criticised this notion of devolution or provincial autonomy as they claim it would deprive the labourers of various rights or lead to the end of various projects meant for workers’ welfare. They have also called open meetings and end to the in-camera sessions.
Their primary concern is that the federal government is transferring those wings to the provinces that pertained to welfare of the workers and none of the three smaller provinces, apart from the Punjab, had any infrastructure, legislation and capability to take over and execute them.
At present, the Workers Welfare Fund, the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), the implementation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions is the responsibility of the federal government. The WWF and EOBI are given contributions by the federal government, which are disbursed among the provinces equally keeping in view the numbers of the workers registered with these welfare wings of the Ministry of Labour and Manpower.
After the devolution, the provinces would be required to generate this welfare money from within the provinces. The issues of the ILO conventions also remain in confusion as no one knows which parts of the conventions will be devolved to provinces or which will be retained by the federal government. The labour unions feel threatened that after the devolution most of the conventions would breed disputes and consequently remain un-implemented as the provinces has no such legislation.
According to recent estimates of the Mazdoor Ithad, the province of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa is provided around Rs 360 million annually by the centre through Workers Welfare Fund and it would not be able to generate more than Rs 60 million from within the province after devolution. The Muzdoor Ithad claims that the workers of the province of Balochistan similarly would be compelled to rely on welfare funds not exceeding Rs 10 million.
“This is extremely meager amount which would badly hit the workers of Balochistan”, said Israr Hussain, a leader of Balochistan Coal Mine Workers Front.
Executive Director of the Pakistan Institute of the Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) Ahmed Bilal Membood feared that the WWF and EOBI would be ultimately closed if devolved. “If the WWF and the EOBI are devolved, the federal contribution will cease and the money generated from within each of the smaller provinces will be not enough to meet even the administrative expenses and ultimately face closer of the welfare programmes”, Mehboob warned.
The labourers across the country also raised similar concerns regarding standards of the working conditions and the related ILO Conventions. “Pakistan has ratified 8 core conventions of the United Nations which overlap workers welfare connotation and a new problem will arise as to which part of the conventions pertain to the provinces and which falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government”, Manzoor Ikhlas, a leader of Trade Union said.


  1. khalidayaz said:

    devolution of labour ministry is in real sense the eradication of mazdoor of kpk nd balochistan.its a very confusing situation.retained ministry with federal if possible or do another amendment for it to save the kpk nd balochistan labour from this storm.

  2. khalidayaz said:

    if amendment is not possible then retained the wwf with federal to save labour from unemployment.

  3. Ali Ahmed Magsi said:

    WWF should remain in center for wider sake of Labour……….

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