‘Bill soon to protect rights of home-based workers’
By Latif Baloch
KARACHI: Speakers at a consultative meeting on Saturday called for necessary legislation for protecting the socio-economic rights of home-based women workers.
They welcomed a recent resolution of the Sindh Assembly demanding protection of home-based workers and ensuring proper laws for their registration.
The consultative meeting was organised by the Labour Education Foundation and it was chaired by Women Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto.
In her concluding remarks, Ms Bhutto assured the participants that the government would soon submit a bill ensuring legal protection to the rights of home-based workers.
Earlier, the speakers expressed the views that unless suitable changes were made in the present classification and definition of the factory and labour laws, the home-based workers could not be registered, and they could thus not avail themselves of the benefits of a registered worker, thereby being unable to enjoy the facilities being offered by the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (SESSI).
The speakers said that a vast majority of home-based workers could not get any legal privileges because they were not treated as workers in the eyes of the law.
A speaker said: “The women workers have no job security or social cover and no legal relief in case of a dispute with the contractor”.
Another speaker quoted a United Nations Human Development Report 2004 which estimated that when both paid employment and unpaid household tasks were accounted for, on average women work more than men.
The meeting stressed the need for recognising home-based workers in their own right through legislative and administrative action as announced in its policy statement.
It also called for according legal equality to the home-based workers in status and rights in relation to wage earners performing the similar work.
It stressed the need to make the work of home-based workers economically viable by creating, facilitating and regulating the marketing opportunities of their products.
The meeting also called for steps ensuring the applications of all rights and entitlements to home-based workers available to other wage earners performing similar work, including comprehensive social protection as well as safe and fair conditions of work for them.
In addition, steps should be taken to provide home-based workers visibility and the opportunity for an organised voice to articulate their concerns and demands through registration as collective bargaining agent on behalf of co-workers.
The meeting decided to work in collaboration with the provincial and local governments to implements the aims and objectives of the policy in a participatory, transparent and accountable manner, and to work in close collaboration with all stakeholders in pursuance of the objectives of the national policy.
Those who spoke in the meeting were Law Secretary Mohammad Nasir Jamali, SESSI Commissioner Nazar Mohammad Kulhuro, Labour Director Syed Nasir Shah, Nasir Mansoor, Zhura Akbar Khan, Saira Feroz, Irfana Jabbar and other.