At a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, presided over by party spokesman Farooq Tariq, union members condemned the statement issued by the Pakistan People’s Party leader Fauzia Wahab, who had said that there would be no raises in the workers’ salaries. Tariq said that the ministers were perhaps unaware that inflation had increased more than 200 per cent over the last few years. He demanded an increment in the minimum wage of the workers.
“Enough is enough! Now labourers will rule as we have seen the rule of the capitalists,” he said.
Yousaf Baloch, the National Trade Union Federation chairman, said, “Ministers are getting Rs0.5m monthly salary. A naib qasid does not even get this amount at retirement. The ministers should think about the lower classes before making policies,” he said.
He said the government was misappropriating the country’s resources through privatisation and favours to the ‘favorites.’
Azra Shad of the Women Workers’ Helpline said that the feudal thinking of the Pakistani society was the major obstacle in the attainment of labour rights.
“Industrialists can spend thousands at a dinner at a restaurant, but they do not agree to pay labourers their salaries and increments,” she said.