Legal cover must to safeguard rights of home-based workers

Karachi: Millions of home-based workers, including women home-based workers are facing immense problems as their rights are not recognized by the law of land and all stakeholders should join hands to passed legislation to safeguard the rights of these workers, said speakers of a moot here Tuesday.

The consultation on social protection for home-based workers was arranged at a local hotel by the Home-based Women Workers Federation (BSWWF), moderated by their secretary general Zehra Khan. Senior officials from labour related organizations, trade union leaders and representatives of home-based workers attended the consultation.

Zehra Khan said the problems of home-based workers, most of them are women, go neglected as this informal sector is being exploited at all levels. She said the ruling politicians should fulfil their electoral promise and recognize more than five million home-based women workers of Sindh and give them their due rights as per the constitution and labour laws.

Pakistani economy has been shifting from the formal to non-formal sector rapidly. As a result, more than 90 per cent of labour force was deprived of all those basic rights that should have been given to them as per the constitution of the country, labour laws and different international labour conventions and standards. Presently, there were more than 12 million home-based women workers in the country and about five million of them were working in different sectors across Sindh like glass bangle making, footwear, embroidery, traditional clothes making, textiles, garments, dairy farming and agriculture.

National Trade Union Federation Pakistan (NTUF) Deputy General Secretary Nasir Mansoor said a technical committee should be formed to take up the issue of legislation for home-based workers and initiate consultation with legislators on this issue. He said in Sindh we have obtained rights of agricultural workers and their union has already been registered in the province. He said the first stage is the get a proper law passed for protecting the rights of home-based workers and the second stage would be its proper implementation. He said the home-based workers should not be confused with the domestic workers and it needs clarity in drafting laws for home-based and domestic workers.

ILO representative in Sindh Abid Khan, labour leader Rafiq Baloch, Saira Feroz and others also spoke.

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