National Labour Council Formally Announced as a Joint Platform to Champion Workers Rights in Pakistan

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It’s a pleasure for us to announce the National Labour Council-NLC as the collective platform of the labour organisations working throughout Pakistan. A labour movement which could work for the dignity of labour under a united platform.

The main objective, of the NLC is to create a transformed labour movement which is able to represent all sections of labour including formal and informal, rural and urban, without any discrimination.

Mr Abdul Latif Nizamani, President of Pakistan WAPDA Hydro Electric Union, has been elected as the Convener of the Pakistan Labour Council, and Mr Karamat Ali, Executive Director of PILER, appointed as NLC’s Secretary. The National Labour Council aims to address the pressing issues faced by workers across various sectors in Pakistan. This collective initiative brings together the collective wisdom of trade unions, labour unions and labour-based organizations.

The NLC will also take benefit from the expertise and solidarity of the academia nationally and internationally. In this press conference, we want to share the Declaration of the national meeting of the National Labour Council which has been held earlier, March 2023 in Islamabad, copies of which would be distributed here.

The National Labour Council will be crucial in advocating for workers’ rights, promoting social justice, and striving for a fairer and more equitable society. By working in unity, the NLC will focus on resolving workers’ issues, ensuring uniformity and compliance with labour laws, and safeguarding the fundamental rights of workers enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and international labour conventions.

We would also like to share our deep concern over the alarming political and economic situation in the country. The country is facing an unprecedented economic downturn which is a result of the lack of respect for the will of the people, subordination to the IMF and other such international monetary institutions and lack of accountability and transparency.

Due to the policies of the successive government millions of workers are facing unemployment and economic distress. Textile sector workers are facing massive unemployment throughout the country and the situation will go worse if corrective measures are not taken. One must remember that the textile sector caters to 45 per cent of the labour force and 30 per cent are women. The textile sector exports account for approximately, 60 per cent of the total exports.

We strongly demand that the government must make provisions for social protection for all in Pakistan. And demand rationalization of huge perks and privileges of the state and govt sector employees and institutions.

The government needs to make an amendment to the constitution so that social protection could become a fundamental right of the citizens of Pakistan.
We also believe that the country needs a real transfer of power in due time. We also demand that the government must make some constitutional amendments necessary for the representation of labour, peasants, youth, women and persons with disabilities, without that issues of workers would never find a place in the parliament.

Local bodies’ representation has become a laughing stalk which harms all but more so the working classes of Pakistan. The government needs to make a constitutional amendment to put a time frame and other relevant inclusions so that the local bodies’ elections are held in due time with a clearly defined scope of work so that the people at the grassroots get their due rights through the local governance.

In the coming months, NLC will hold rallies, protests and large gatherings against inflation, unemployment and lack of governance and corruption.

The NLC will also hold discussions, seminars and community gatherings with workers, like-minded people and organisations and research institutions across Pakistan so that the agenda of worker’s rights be addressed at all the relevant forums.

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