President signs bill into law: Workers regain right to seek legal remedy
KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari signed on Friday the Services Tribunal (Amendment) Bill 2010, repealing the Removal from Service (Special Power) Ordinance 2000 and the controversial Section 2A of the Services Tribunal Act 1973, which had deprived employees of their right to approach labour courts for remedy.
After signing the bill, President Zardari addressed a workers’ convention at the Chief Minister’s House.
The bill enables employees to take their disputes to the Labour Court, Labour Appellate Tribunal and the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC) and meets a longstanding demand of workers’ organisations.
President Zardari said that by signing the bill he had fulfilled the promise made by Pakistan People’s Party to restore workers’ rights.
He said the government would protect rights of working classes and provide a conducive environment for business to set the stage for a new phase of prosperity and development.
The new law, the president said, would protect workers from exploitation and arbitrary termination from service.
President Zardari said the bill reflected the government’s commitment of making workers partners in their organisation as was envisioned by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
He said the government’s decision to offer 10 per cent shares in 80 public sector organisations would benefit 500,000 employees.
President Zardari claimed that the People’s Party was a pro-business, pro-worker and pro-hari party and was implementing the concept of Islamic socialism enunciated by its founder.
He said the government was not against industrialists and landowners and did not want any conflict between them and workers.
Instead, it was interested in promoting a cooperative partnership between them, he added.
He said that it was the responsibility of political parties to protect the rights of both workers and industrialists.
He said the government would formulate industrial policies in consultation with the business class and industrialists.
The president said the government had prepared plans to build 80,000 housing units for the labour, enhanced the minimum wage to Rs6,000 and workers’ share in profit and increased the amount of marriage grants for all workers.
President Zardari also met party leaders and exchanged views with them on the political situation, law and order issues and matters concerning the local government and relations with coalition parties.
According to sources, he advised them to hold negotiations with all parties in the ruling coalition and form alliance for local government elections.
He said the situation required resolution of internal differences because the country could not afford conflicts at a time when it was facing major challenges.