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Workers convention: ‘Legislation for home-based workers in the works’

The Express Tribune - 30 October 2014 - LAHORE: Women Development Minister Hameeda Waheedud Din said on Wednesday that a bill on home-based workers would be presented in the Punjab Assembly as soon as the chief minister returned from abroad.
LAHORE: Women Development Minister Hameeda Waheedud Din said on Wednesday that a bill on home-based workers would be presented in the Punjab Assembly as soon as the chief minister returned from abroad.

She said this as home-based workers threatened to stage a sit-in if legislation for them was not passed by November 20.

She was addressing a one-day convention on women workers organised by HomeNet Pakistan.

It was attended by hundreds of workers, members of civil society, media personnel, women lawmakers, trade unionists and representatives of organisations working for labour rights.

The minister informed participants that the bill had been approved by the cabinet and would be presented in the Punjab Assembly soon.

She said the government was taking workers’ problems seriously.

In her opening remarks, she commended home-based workers for their struggle for their rights.

She also praised HomeNet Pakistan Executive Director Ume Laila Azhar for her contribution to the cause of the workers.

The workers chanted slogans and threatened to stage a sit-in in front of the provincial assembly if a law on protecting rights of home-based workers was not passed by November 20.

There should be quotas for home-based workers in the government’s health insurance schemes, workers said.

Other demands made during the convention were: workers be provided opportunities to market their goods without the involvement of middle-men; the government should ratify International Labour Organisation conventions C-177, C-189 and C-183 and implement them in their true spirit; and the government simplify processes for registration of unions in the informal sector.

Participants of the convention unanimously demanded that local government elections be held without delay and workers be given minimum wage.

They said October 20 should celebrated as national day for home-based workers.

Azhar said she was pleased to see so many workers at the event.

She said workers were now aware of their rights and wanted an improvement in their lives.  Azhar praised the minister for women development for her support.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker Dr Nosheen Hamid praised HomeNet for raising awareness among the workers and transforming them into a unified force.

She said it was unfortunate that the World Economic Forum had declared Pakistan the worst country in the world for women and ranked it last in terms of Gender Equity Index.

However, she said, it should be noted that women lawmakers had been active in initiating and pursuing legislation on important issues.

Labour Education Foundation (LEF) Executive Director Khalid Mahmood spoke on the need for measures to ensure occupational safety and health for home-based workers.

He said workers were vulnerable to diseases as they had to work with hazardous chemicals.

He said many suffered from joint and back pains due to the nature of their work.

He said asthma, tuberculosis and weak eyesight were common among home-based workers.

“The government should realise the need for providing health and social security cover to workers who do not have enough money to spend on their health,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2014.

 

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Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/783294/workers-convention-legislation-for-home-based-workers-in-the-works/

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