14 Jan 2019 Ferado

WAPDA workers padlock offices in protest in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Pakistan WAPDA Hyrdo Electric Workers Union (CBA) here Friday took out a rally from the labour office to the press club.

Led by the Union’s Central President Abdul Latif Nizamani, the workers called for acceptance of their demands while also staging a token sit-in. Speaking on the occasion, Nizamani demanded welfare funds, health allowances and support of families of the workers who die on duty.

He complained that the workers of the power generation and distribution companies were being sacked against fake complaints and called for putting an end to such layoffs.

Nizamani claimed that the workers employed on contract and daily wages over 6 years ago had not been regularized so far.

He demanded that those workers should be regularized and that at least Rs.25,000 salary should be fixed for the contractual staff in view of the ever rising inflation.The union asked the government to direct the distribution companies to stop sending faulty detection bills to the consumers in order to provide relief to the public.

Abbass Chandio, Muhammad Hanif Khan, Raja Afridi, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and other leaders of the union also spoke.

6 Jan 2019 Ferado

Minimum wage: FG, organised labour meeting inconclusive

Abuja: The Federal Government and organised labour on Friday failed to reach an agreement over the proposed N30,000 minimum wage after a seven-hour meeting at the Ministry of Labour and Employment headquarters in Abuja.

However, the meeting was postponed till Monday for further negotiations.

The meeting was called to discuss the new minimum wage proposed by the tripartite committee that deliberated on the issue and how to avert a nationwide protest by organised labour on January 8.

At the meeting were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister for Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, and Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.

Also in attendance were the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, General Secretary of the union, Peter Ozo-Eson, President of Trade Union Congress, Kaigama Bobboi, and members of the tripartite committee.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Wabba told journalists that the meeting made substantial progress but added that the protest scheduled for Tuesday would be determined by the outcome of Monday’s meeting.

He said, “We have had a social dialogue bordering on the new minimum wage. The meeting decided that we should adjourn and reconvene on Monday for further discussions before the issues are concluded. “We have not been able to conclude but we will meet on Monday to conclude the process.”

The NLC chief added, “The issues at stake are about making sure that an executive bill is transmitted to the National Assembly and other ancillary issues that the government said it is trying to put together.

“Those are the major issues. We also want to see how the money gets into the pockets of our workers. We have been able to have a meaningful dialogue but inconclusive. The rally on Tuesday will be determined by Monday’s meeting.

“Part of the report submitted (by the tripartite committee to the presidency) was all inclusive but the processes that will ensure that a clean bill is transmitted to the National Assembly and what is termed
physical issue will be tidied up on Monday.”

Ngige said President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to paying a new minimum wage but one that was sustainable.

He explained that process leading to the transmission of an executive bill from the Presidency to the National Assembly was discussed but would be finalised on Monday.

He said, “We have made substantial progress in terms of the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly. We adjourned to look at the issue. It is a new bill for National Minimum Wage Act 2019.”

Asked if the state governments were aware of the issues raised and discussed at the meeting, the minister said the issue of the minimum wage was on the exclusive list of the constitution.

He also said the technical committee being proposed by the FG would advise the state governments on how to raise funds to sustain the new wage.

Ngige added, “The President inaugurated the minimum wage committee and provided them the equipment and resources to work. We have the report and we are working on it. It is in a raw form and it will be milled before transmission to the National Assembly; that is what we are doing now and how to make it fast.

“The high level technical committee will not discuss the minimum wage. It is about budget and planning for the federal and state governments on sustainability and how they can get the money. We don’t have to pay in 2019 and not pay in 2020. The committee will advise the state governments groaning under wage bill on what to do. On Monday we will continue and arrive at a transmission date.”

The minister also said the N160bn in the 2019 budget was not only for the minimum wage but also for “consequential financial” that would occur.

At the beginning of the meeting, Wabba told government’s representatives that the union expected the FG to have completed the process of implementing the tripartite report, which was submitted more than two months ago.

He said, “Since the issue of minimum wage, which expired in 2016, we have always followed due process. The stage we are is not about implementation but how to get to the next stage. But when there is no information, there will be speculation.

6 Jan 2019 Ferado

20 labourers held captive in Hyderabad

India: As many as 20 labourers from Sanakhemundi area in Ganjam district have been held captive and are allegedly being tortured by their employers at Hyderabad. The matter came to the fore after one of the labourers shared a video on social media regarding their condition.

The labourer, in the video, alleged that they were denied salary for past two months and are facing exploitation and torture from their employers. While they were promised a daily wage of Rs 550, they are being tortured and even denied basic necessities including food, he added.

As per sources, the labourers were lured by a cable company ‘Punna Balaji’, which sent them to work in a Hyderabad-based company Neno Electronics. Contrary to their promise, the employers are making the labourers work under extreme condition.

Meanwhile, the family members of the victims have approached the district administration seeking help for their safe return.

Notably, Odisha Labour Department December 28 successfully rescued 17 women labourers of Ganjam, who were held captive by the owner of a brick kiln in Telangana.

6 Jan 2019 Ferado

Four killed in Loralai coal mine explosion

Quetta: A blast in the Chamalang coal mines in Loralai district in Balochistan on January 2 led to the death of 4 miners and caused critical injuries to 1. In a statement to Labour News, the chief mine inspector of Balochistan, Iftikhar Ahmed, said the explosion was a result of gas filling the mine while the workers were extracting coal. The injured miner and the bodies of those killed were retrieved by their fellow workers.

According to the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCMLF), the four coal miners, two of whom were siblings, belonged to the same family and hailed from Afghanistan. The victims were identified as Habibur Rehman, Muhammad Sadiq, Javed, and Khalid. The injured miner was identified as Rehmatullah. Another death was reported on December 31 in the Sharigh mines in the Khost area. The death was caused due to poisonous gas leakage.

The incident occurred days after the PCMLF and the All Pakistan Labour Federation (APLF) staged a demonstration and a rally in front of the Quetta Press Club to protest government negligence and abysmal working conditions in the mines. These conditions have led to nearly 120 deaths and injuries to nearly 117 workers in the past few months. According to estimates made by the PCMLF, mine-related accidents lead to nearly 100-200 deaths every year.

According to official estimates made by the Balochistan Mines and Minerals Development Department, there are about 250 mines employing around 12,000 people. However, PCMLF estimates place the number of mines at 400, employing nearly 100,000. A major reason for the wide disparity in the reported numbers is the fact that a large number of mines are not registered with the government. As a result, those working in these mines are not included in government data and are often unable to avail medical and wage benefits. Miners usually begin work at the age of 13 and continue till they are about 30 years old, when they are forced into unemployment due to chronic respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, loss of eyesight, injuries, etc. caused due to the hazardous working conditions. They are often forced to work for over 10 hours a day without adequate safety gear, which is in violation of Pakistan’s labor laws. Mines in this region are highly susceptible to gas leakages and explosions, collapse of the mine stopes, technical malfunctions, and other accidents. In the absence of well-equipped emergency response teams, other workers often end up being the first responders which, in a lot of the cases, leads to further casualties. Many workers ‘retire’ under such circumstances, often without pension or unemployment benefits.

6 Jan 2019 Ferado

PIA fires 200 ghost employees

Islamabad: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has sacked over 200 ghost employees hired on daily wages.

The PIA administration acting upon orders of the Supreme Court has also expedited action against employees possessing fake degrees.

According to sources, over 400 employees including pilots and air hostesses have been either suspended or terminated from service on suspicion of holding fake degrees. In addition, the administration has also reported presence of ghost employees hired on daily wages while action against them has already been started.

These ghost employees were hired by third parties and their salaries were paid from payroll of the national carrier, sources reported, adding most of them used to receive salaries even when not working.

Sources added the administration after identifying over 200 such employees has removed them while it has also instituted action against employees who have been continuously absent during the past four months.

A PIA spokesperson while confirming reports said the administration has started a crackdown against the ghost employees.

“PIA has no place for ghost employees,” said the spokesperson adding report against officers and pilots with fake degrees will be presented to the top court on January 9.