1.5m bonded labourers in country: HRCP
LAHORE, Sept 20: Nearly 1.5 million people are in bondage in the country despite a ban on bonded labour owing to lack of proper implementation of the law and economic benefit of the violators.
This was stated during an interactive dialogue on “The situation of brick kiln workers” at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan here on Thursday. Kiln workers, labour leaders and representatives of civil society participated in the dialogue organised by the Interactive Resource Centre.
Participants of the dialogue said bondage was mostly prevalent at brick kilns in Punjab and `hari’ workers in Sindh. The situation got worse when any worker found a better opportunity and tried to quit the job. It was then he realised that he was trapped in bondage.
Kiln workers leader Syeda Ghulam Fatima pointed out that the government had fixed the minimum wage for moulding 1,000 bricks at Rs184 but majority of the owners were paying less than it despite the fact that the workers toiled from dawn to dusk.
Daily wages payment could not be checked because only 20 per cent of 15,000 kilns had been registered so far.
The participants of the forum stressed the need for strict implementation of the Abolition of Bonded Labour Act and Minimum Wages Act, registration of brick kilns and issuance of national identity cards and social security to workers for improving their lot.