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Bargaining right be restored in banks.

Economic Review: What are the problems of the Bank workers and what is the solution ? Habibuddin Junaidi: Bank employees are the part and parcel of the system. As such their problems should be viewed in that perspective. If the system is overburdened with inflation and price hike they cannot remain immune. But the major problem is the restoration of bargaining right which is the fundamental right of workers guaranteed under ILO Convention. Unions become meaningless in the absence of collective bargaining. It is yet to be determined whether the workers of private banks will be governed by Wage Board or through collective bargaining.

If there is any stumbling block in way of the restoration of collective bargaining right there should be equal representation of employees, employers and government in the Wage Commission. Similar procedure should be adopted in case of grade officers. The Pay Commission of grade officers also lacks representation and legal protection.

ER: How will you comment on ethnic polarization taking shape on trade union front? HJ: This is a national reality which is termed as the ethnic polarization. In a democratic society it is the democratic right of a group to advocate its philosophy. This is also a part of politics. Instead of being offended and fanning internal contradictions, the good trade unionists should create harmony and mutual understanding among various groups through a dialogue.

Moreover, trade union activities can not be viewed in isolation. We have dealt this issue rationally on scientific grounds by adopting a policy of live and let-live. The labour union should understand that a sense of deprivation prevails among various ethnic groups. There should be no confrontation with them. Any unwise action could further aggravate the situation.

ER: Why the Labour Policy is being delayed and what should it contain ? HJ: The factors behind the delay are not known. However, it is the prerogative of the government to announce Labour Policy in line with its manifesto. The point that needs more attention is the implementation of existing labour laws in letter and spirit. Any further amendment, if needed, should be carried out through a tripartite labour conference. What is needed at this juncture is to create an atmosphere of understanding between the employee and the employer. This could be done by holding frequent sector-wise tripartite labour conferences. After that a Conference representing various sectors could be convened at provincial and federal level each year to create a state of better understanding.

ER: How do you foresee the future of workers in the present democratic era. HJ: The government if continues to widen industrial base and speeds-up the industrial pace new employment opportunities will be created. The prosperity of the workers is interlinked with the industrial progress. Establishments of new banks in the private sector has opened up job opportunities as well as an environment of competition. We are optimistic about the future of the workers.
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Title Annotation:Industrial Relations in Pakistan '92; interview with Habibuddin Junaidi
Author:Raza, Moosi
Publication:Economic Review
Article Type:Interview
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:The labour policy should be realistic and equitable.
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