IRA 2012 (Workers rights bill) Passed in Senate
ISLAMABAD (March 7, 2012) : Industrial Relations Act (IRA), 2012, was unanimously passed by the Senate on Wednesday. The bill was moved by PPP stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani.
The bill, if adopted also by the National Assembly and signed by the president, will ensure protection of the labourers’ rights and rationalise the law in the capital territory and at the trans-provincial level.
Among other key issues, it deals with formation of trade unions, regulation of relations between employers and workers, and avoidance and settlement of any disputes between them.
The president has convened a special National Assembly session on March 12 to discuss the bill.
If the bill becomes law it will give legal cover to over 400 unions and 70 associations registered in trans-provincial and federal institutions after labour-related matters were devolved to the provinces under the 18th Amendment of the Constitution.
Under the legislation, the federal government will constitute a National Industrial Relations Commission to adjudicate on an industrial dispute in Islamabad to which a trade union or federation of trade unions is party and which is not confined to matters of local nature; as well as any other industrial dispute of national importance referred to it by the government.
The act will not apply to those involved in the administration of the state other than those employed as workmen, security staff and those drawing wages not lower than Group V in PIA, Pakistan Security Printing Corporation and Security Papers Limited and to institutions meant for treatment or care of sick, infirm, destitute or mentally unfit persons, excluding those run on a commercial basis.
Leader of Opposition Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, Leader of House Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Babar Awan, Prof Khursheed Ahmad, Haji Adeel, Afrasiab Khattak, Tahir Mashhadi, Zafar Ali Shah, Ismail Buledi, Saleem Saifullah Khan, Abdul Rahim Mandokhel and Abdul Haseeb Khan spoke in favour of the bill.
Talking to reporters, Senator Rabbani said the ‘anti-workers’ Industrial Relations Ordinance of 2002 had been imposed by the Musharraf regime to usurp rights.
He said the PPP government had committed to repealing the infamous law and had fulfilled its commitment immediately after coming to power in 2008.
The new law was a manifestation of the government’s commitment towards the rights of workers, he said.
Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan praised all parliamentary groups for their cooperation in passing the bill.
Addressing a news conference, she assured workers that the bill would also be passed by the National Assembly.
The chief of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and chairman of the All Pakistan Workers’ Action Committee, Parvaiz Shaukat, said the federation was fighting cases of over 1,700 employees of media groups in various labour courts and implementation tribunals.
The minister evaded a question about why the government was not helping implement the 7th Wage Board Award for newspaper workers and announcing the 8th wage board.