Published in Daily English “The Express Tribune” on December 9, 2010)
Punjab Assembly has passed new legislation that will govern the formation of trade unions, relations between industries and their workers, and the process for the settlement of labour disputes.
The Punjab Industrial Relations Bill 2010 was introduced in the assembly on Wednesday afternoon and passed via a voice vote after a clause-by-clause reading. Two small amendments made by opposition members were included in the bill.
The opposition asked that the bill not be introduced for another two weeks so it could be more widely circulated and considered, but the treasury benches rejected the request. “Circulating the bill and getting the input of stakeholders will prevent the kind of protests we are seeing outside right now,” said Mohsin Leghari of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, referring to an angry demonstration by students on The Mall.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the bill had already spent six months in the Standing Committee on Labour and Human Resources, during which time it had been extensively vetted in consultation with all stakeholders. Labour relations and trade unions were previously regulated under the Punjab Industrial Relations Ordinance 2010. That ordinance now stands repealed.
The law minister also introduced the Qarshi University Muridke Bill 2010 in the assembly on Wednesday. The bill which would provide for the establishment of a private university with faculties in eastern medicine, IT and mathematics, social and management sciences, and environmental sciences – was referred to the Standing Committee on Education.
(Published in Daily English “DailyTimes” on December 9, 2010)
PA passes Industrial Relations Bill 2010
LAHORE: Adopting two out of 12 amendments proposed by the opposition, the Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Industrial Relations Bill 2010 on Wednesday, with the opposition withdrawing all other amendments to give a relaxation to the government, but did not endorse the bill on the whole.
The Punjab government had initially promulgated the Industrial Relations Ordinance on June 13 as all labour matters were a federal subject before the passage of the 18th Amendment. After the passage of the 18th Amendment, all labour issues were devolved to provinces. As the ordinance was promulgated by the Punjab government, and it could not be re-promulgated, it was necessary to get the node of the provincial assembly in this regard.
The bill was moved by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah from the treasury benches, who told the House that the standing committee of the Punjab Assembly had consulted and taken into confidence all stakeholders, including employers, workers and legal experts on the matter. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), as a coalition partner of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), supported the labour laws passed by the assembly with a majority. On the other hand, the opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), opposed the bill and did not endorse any of its clauses.
After the passage of the bill, workers of an establishment, employing not less than 50 workers, may establish and join a union or association. However, a worker shall not be entitled to be a member of more than one trade union at any one time and cannot join another trade.