President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif – in separate statements on the occasion of International Labor Day – urged workers to play key role in making Pakistan economically stronger and vibrant.
In his message, the president said that the nation was celebrating the International Labor Day on May 1 with the resolve to reaffirm commitment to the dignity of labor and pay tribute to the valiant and heroic struggle of the workers for their fundamental rights.
“The day is not only a reminder of the struggle of workers but also an acknowledgment of their contribution towards economic development. We believe that workers and employers are partners in the production process and their cooperation is essential for industrial efficiency that ultimately leads to socio-economic uplift,” he said.
Despite their contribution towards economic prosperity, he said that the laborers were facing many issues like the unsafe working environment, unfair labor practices, poor wages, lack of job security, harassment of women at the workplace, long working hours and arbitrary dismissal.
Dr Arif Alvi said that the labor force was the backbone of the national economy and it was highly essential to take steps for the protection of their rights by strictly enforcing the labor laws to discourage unfair practices. “Pakistan has a huge labor force and youth bulge who need modern skill.”
He hoped that the federal and provincial governments would continue their endeavors to work for their welfare as well as to provide them with marketable skill sets. “On this international day, let us pledge to dedicate ourselves to the prosperity and glory of Pakistan.”
In a separate message, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while highlighting workers’ pivotal role in the economic development reiterated that the government was committed to ensuring benefits of economic progress translated into prosperity for all sections of the population, particularly the laborers and workers.
He said that the day reminded them of the sacrifices of those workers who laid down their lives while waging a relentless struggle for their rights. He said that the day symbolized the sanctity and dignity of labor and at the same time, it was an acknowledgment of the importance of workers and laborers for being central to the economic growth.
Paying tributes to the working classes for their contributions to the development, he called upon all the stakeholders to renew their pledge both at the individual and collective levels to ensure welfare of working classes by investing in their socio-economic and social well-being. “Our great religion emphasizes the principles of social justice, equity and respect for the rights of the people,” he said.
“Respect for hard work and recognition of the rights of workers are extremely important in the process of progress.” He said that the present government was committed to improving the working and living conditions of workers and to supplement their welfare by providing better housing, education facilities and health cover for them and their families.
Keeping in view the economic challenges, the prime minister said that the government had increased the minimum wages of workers from Rs 17,500 to 25,000 per month. For requirements of the labor market, he said that the government had embarked upon programs of vocational training and skills development to enable workers to get their due share in job markets within and outside Pakistan.
In a message, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Public Communication and Digital Platforms Fahd Haroon said that the public communication has a critical role to play in amplifying the voices of workers and raising awareness about the challenges they face. “May 1 is an occasion of great significance, as it highlights contributions of workers and the importance of their rights and dignity.”
He acknowledged the challenges faced by workers, including low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of social protection. He lauded Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s efforts towards ensuring labor dignity and equal wages without gender and other discrimination. He commended Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto for his unwavering commitment to the labor struggle in Pakistan.