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Progressive labour policy demanded.

Nineteenth Century brought an Industrial Revolution in the West which deployed the human beings as commodity to maximise their profits at the cost of the suffering working men and women and even children in an environment at full of hazards like accident, disease, the suffering of unlimited working hours ranging 16 hours a day without any weekly rest, denial of the freedom of association and collective bargaining rights to the workers.

It led the workers to march in protest against such exploitative forces. The workers offered sacrifices heroically for their just cause. Their sacrifices compelled the oppressive forces to accept their genuine demand of fixation of 8 hours working schedule and recognition of the right of freedom of association and collective bargaining. As, this historic struggle was turning point in the regulation of the rights of the workers that is why the working class all over the world celebrate this day with great favour symbolising their successful struggle for the cause of social justice and democracy against exploitative forces of the society. In Pakistan, this May Day is being celebrated by the working class urging that:-

a) Feudal system being a legacy of colonial era allowing continuation exploitation of 70 per cent rural population of the country, should be abolished and agrarian reforms should be introduced. The land should be distributed among the landless peasants which will not only provide them essential means of their livelihood, but will raise the productivity and yield of crops which is lowest, at present, in the world due to this oppressive system.

b) The ever-rising inflation rate has made the lives miserable of ordinary wage earner so it should be checked.

c) The unemployment among the youth is touching the alarming heights. Such policies be introduced which could keep the rate of unemployment within certain limits.

d) To get rid of heavy burden of foreign loans it requires introduction of austerity in all walks of life and raising national saving ratio which is the lowest in the world, taxing the rich and reducing the gap between the rich and the poor, diverting national resources on industrial and agricultural development instead of wasting them on importing luxurious goods and recovery of loans from feudals.

e) Evolving a progressive labour policy ensuring Trade Union activities and collective bargaining rights and security at services for better working conditions and dignity of work both for men and women in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and ILO Convention and Philadelphia Declaration and UN Human Rights.

f) Elimination of the illiteracy and to equip the youth with vocational education, scientific know-how. To end the menace of child labour.

These objective can only be achieved if there is a real democracy backed by the workers and peasants of the country. In case, Pakistan continued to face such political crisis and uncertainties as dissolution of assemblies every two years, the economic development of the country would remain a mirage.
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Author:Ahmed, Khurshid
Publication:Economic Review
Date:May 1, 1993
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