Industrial Relations Ordinance 2011: Trade unions leaders call for essential changes:
MULTAN (August 30, 2011) : Leaders of trade unions from Multan region have called on the federal government to make some essential changes in the Industrial Relations Ordinance 2011 and get it approved by parliament as early as possible.
The demand was made after a review of the new ordinance at a meeting held recently by local trade unions, NGOs, civil society organisations and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The meeting welcomed the Industrial Relations Ordinance 2011 for providing trade union activities and resolution of industrial disputes in the federal capital and for facilitating the registration and functioning of trans-provincial trade unions. The meeting drew the attention of the government to the Supreme Court ruling on the post 18th Amendment situation.
At the same time the meeting emphasised that the government’s obligation is to ensure compliance with international treaties (such as ILO Convention 87) and the arguments advanced in this respect by the ILO experts. HRCP Multan task force in charge Rashid Rehman said that the labour leaders made a strong plea for legislation to cover the rights of workers in the informal sector, which had grown much bigger than the formal sector. It was necessary to allow workers engaged by different employers to form unions and to encourage unionization of agricultural workers. Some of the recommendations made by the meeting were:
a) The bar to formation of general trade unions in an industry, even when workers were serving many employers must be removed.
b) The exclusion of the security staff of PIA and Pakistan Security Printing Corporation or the Security Papers Limited may be deleted.
c) In the definition of lockout the workers and employers should be placed on the same footing.
d) The definition of ‘business’ should include industry-wise trade unions having membership in more than one province.
e) The condition that each establishment must have two trade unions is absurd and it must be dropped.
g) Section 11(5) may be deleted because it says that in case an officer of the trade union is elected in violation of Section 18 the registration of the union shall be cancelled. This is a totally unjust provision.
h) The government has assumed the power to appoint the Registrar of Industry-wise Trade Unions. He may be appointed in consultation with the Chairman of the National Industrial Relations Commission. Likewise, the authority to appoint presiding officers of labour courts should be transferred from the government to the superior judiciary.
The prominent labour leaders attending the meeting included Khurshid Ahmad Khan of People’s Labour Bureau, Ashfaq Ahmed Khan Secretary General of Federation of trade union, Shah Wali Rajput of MDA employees Union, and Ghazi Ahmed Hassan Khokhar.