30 Millions workers deprived of EOBI benefits: Daily Dawn Report

Category: Labour

ISLAMABAD, April 24, 2011: About 30 million workers are not registered with the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) and will remain deprived of their rights under the scheme started by the government for the welfare of the labour class.
EOBI chairman Zaffar Iqbal Gondal told this reporter on Sunday that only about 29 of the 59 million labourers working in different government and private organisations were registered with the EOBI and entitled to old-age benefits.
He said that dishonesty, corruption and apathy towards workers’ rights were the reasons behind the huge shortfall in registration of workers. But this also exposed the tall claims of the government which announced a big package for workers but so far none of the promises have been fulfilled.
On May Day last year, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani promised that minimum wage for workers would be Rs7,000 per month, and free facilities for healthcare and technical education would be provided to them.
Mr Gondal said that about two million workers were registered during the last few years after he took over charge of the institution and a target of 10 million more to be brought into the fold of EOBI pension scheme had been set.
But it could not be materialised because the government has set June 30th as the deadline for devolving the labour ministry and its subsidiary EOBI to the provinces.
Mr Gondal said that workers of the smaller provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would suffer the most due to the devolution because thousands of labourers from these two provinces were working in industrial cities like Karachi, Faisalabad and Lahore and their EOBI shares would go to the provinces where they were employed, instead of the areas of their origin.
Apart from this, most of the industrial units in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are sick or totally closed so their shares as compared to Punjab and Sindh would be only a small fraction of the trillion-rupee EOBI fund.

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