Workers' status needs recognition.
ANWAR WASTI, President, All Pakistan Confederation of Labour is an Arts Graduate and holds Bachelors degree of Law. He is the General Secretary, All Pakistan Public Works Employees Federation and Sindh Workers Trade Union Council. He joined labour movement in 1968 as worker. Mr. Wasti attended various national and international seminars held at Geneva, Hongkong, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand under the auspices of ILO and various governments in collaboration with Pakistan Govt. Following are the excerpts from an interview of Mr. Anwar Wasti by Moosi Raza of Economic Review:
Economic Review: How will you comment on Labour Management Relations in Pakistan. What measures do you suggest to improve them further? Anwar Wasti: Labour-Management Relations mostly depend upon the sweet will and close cooperation of both parties. In labour laws mutual relations are governed through an ordinance which came into force in the year 1969 to resolve the problems. But mere formulation of a legal framework does not serve the purpose. Because of the negative attitude of the management and ineffective role of the government machinery, the laws are incapable to establish healthy relations. The present state of affairs is harmful for industrial peace and smooth sailing of the economic activity in the country. Neither it benefits the workers nor the management.
ER: What are the general problems of the workers in our country and what is its remedy? AW: The main problem is the non-recognition of the status of the workers. The employer is unwilling to implement the laws providing safeguards to the workers. The government machinery, responsible for its implementation is not sincere to discharge its legal obligations. Contrarily it serves the interest of the employer. The workers thus are rendered helpless. The workers want the implementation of labour laws in true spirit.
ER: How do you view the denationalisation policy of the present government. AW: The denationalisation policy of the present government, is harmful for the country. The privatisation is being carried out without planning, to suit business community. There is no justification to denationalise the profitable units. The sick units have not been touched. Denationalisation would add a new dimension to unemployment. The unemployment, problem at present is touching unprecedented heights and is giving rise to frustration among the educated youth who are being motivated towards unethical acts. The linguistic organisations are exploiting this situation very intelligently.
ER: There is resentment among workers against contract labour system. What steps do you suggest for its elimination. AW: The contract system is unwarranted and lacks legal and moral grounds. The workers have been deprived of from their legitimate rights. The contract system is in practice in connivance with the officials of the labour department and other agencies. For the abolishment of contract system it is necessary that the contractors should issue letter of appointments to employees with all benefits as applicable to employees of permanent nature under labour laws. The contractors or persons acting on their behalf should be made accountable for the violation of such laws.
ER: Are you optimistic about the incoming Labour Policy. Is it likely to contain workers aspirations. AW: Although the Labour Policy is anxiously awaited since long but we are not optimistic about it. The attitude of the present government lends belief that proposed labour policy would be tilted towards the business community. There is a possibility of more dis-satisfaction and disappointment among workers. We are of the view that the Labour Policy should be a balanced one. It should also ensure and safeguard the interest of the working community without which industrial progress cannot be guaranteed.
ER: How would you comment on the behaviour of present government towards the workers. AW: The present government has given lot of incentives to business community. But no tangible benefit has been announced for the workers. The present situation cannot be said as encouraging. It cannot benefit the government. It is leaving bad impact on its performances. Working class has its role to play in the industrial growth and prosperity of the country. A sense of deprivation prevails in workers. This may hamper the economic development of the country. The government should prove its neutrality while giving incentives to business community and workers.
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|Title Annotation:||Special Issue: Industrial Relations in Pakistan '91; interview with Anwar Wasti|
|Date:||May 1, 1991|
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