Haris form trade union in Sindh for realization of rights

Karachi/ Khairpur Nathan Shah: The Haris and agriculture workers of Khairpur Nathan Shah in district Dadu here formed their own trade union to realize their due rights under the labour laws. After the unionization of the Haris of district Mirpurkhas, this is the second trade union of Haris in the province of Sindh.

According to details, a representative convention of the Haris belonging to different areas of Khairpur Nathan Shah, district Dadu, was held at a local hotel, in which a large number of Haris and farm workers participated and decided to form their own trade union. They warmly welcomed the legal rights of Haris as workers under the Sindh Industrial Relations Act (SIRA 2013). They said this law has paved way for millions of Haris and peasants to get their due rights and bring positive changes in their lives; however, practical implementation of this law is direly needed.

The speakers, on the occasion, said that in Sindh province, the peasants and agriculture workers have been braving atrocities of the feudal system for centuries. In rural areas, millions of Haris have been living in conditions that are worse than animals. They are deprived of all basic facilities of life including clean drinking water, electricity, gas, education and healthcare. The feudal lords have occupied vast lands and imposed inhuman conditions of the Dark Age on their Haris. They have established their private jails and selling and purchasing of Haris and taking forced labour from them are still prevailing in different villages of Sindh. However, despite all these discouraging conditions, the Haris of Sindh province have waged a brave heroic struggle for their rights and this historic struggle has resulted in the enactment of the Tenancy Act. However, sadly even after passing of the half century this law is still to be practically implemented.

They said the Worker Movement of Pakistan got another achievement when the SIRA2013 was enacted in the year 2013 under which the workers related to the agriculture and fisheries sectors were brought under the ambit of the labour laws. However, practical implementation of the SIRA2013 is also awaited and hence millions of agricultural workers are still deprived of their rights including registration, old age benefits, pension, healthcare and other related facilities and privileges under the labour laws, despite the fact that these are their legal rights.

The speakers welcomed the recognition of Haris and other agriculture labours as the workers and stressed the need to provide them all the legal rights which are available to other workers of Pakistan under the labour laws. They reminded that in the Pakistani workforce of 60million, almost 60precent is comprised of Haris and agricultural workers. Under the prevailing labour laws, now these workers have come under the legal definition of workers but it is the responsibility of the provincial government to take steps for giving them the rights of social security, collective bargaining and taking their dispute to the labour courts for their resolving. In this regard tripartite consultation should be held to give the Haris and other agricultural workers their due legal rights.

The speakers said that in this representative convention the Haris and agricultural workers, themselves, have decided to form their own trade union and also approved its constitution and manifesto and agreed that the Haris and agriculture workers of Khairpur Nathan Shah would go for collective bargaining through their labour union for the realization of their rights.

On the occasion, the office-bearers of the newly formed Hari union were also elected.

Those spoke included National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) central general secretary Nasir Mansoor, NTUF information secretary Mushtaq Ali Shah, Hari leaders Lal Bux Sathio, Mohammad Hussain Sario, Nawab Ali, Ali Gul, Hidayatullah Laghari and Ahmed Ali.