Pakistán - Survey shows most workers deprived of fundamental trade union rights

The government of Pakistan published its annual Labour Force Survey 2014-15 just in time for May Day 2016. The survey estimates that the majority of workers in the agricultural and fishing sector do not even have a legal right to form a trade union under the relevant industrial relations laws. Similarly, according to former finance minister, Dr Hafiz A. Pasha, only one to two per cent of industrial workers are organised in trade unions. A report by Pakistan Workers Confederation puts the overall level of union membership in the country at about three per cent of the workforce.

Commenting on the survey, Abdul Lateef Nizamani, president of the Wapda Hydroelectric Workers Union, identified one of the major reasons for the very low level of trade union membership in the country as the privatisation over the years of what used to be considered public services, where there used to be a high level of trade union membership. The other more recent phenomenon has been the growth in the use of contract labour, which makes it much harder for workers to form trade unions.

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