Congratulations SPARC succeeded to registered to first ever federation of the Brick Kiln Workers ( Sindh Bhatta Mazdoor Federation) for the realization of Laborer’s rights.
Grand Rally in Hyderabad
Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a grand rally with the support of Actionaid and European Union to mark International Labor Day on 1st May 2014. The participants started long march from Tando Haider to Hyderabad press club they had play cards in their hands which inscribed with slogan of Social Justice, no to slavery and fixation of working hours. The rally was attended by trade hundreds of laborers, brick kiln workers, union activists, civil society members, , intellectuals, print and electronic media persons.
While addressing rally at the press club here on Thursday Mr. Zahid Ahmed Thebo said that more than 22 years have passed but no effective measures have been taken to implement Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1992. The suffering of brick kiln workers cannot simply be alleviated unless political will is not displayed. Though SPARC has helped brick kiln workers in registration of more than 800 votes, providing 246 Social Security Cards, 2953 CNICs, 313 non formal education to their children, provided medical assistance to 1624 workers and freed 559 bonded brick kiln worker through 70 free legal Aid cases, yet it is insufficient and the government need to play its due role to uplift the condition of brick kiln workers and provide decent working conditions, he added. He demanded the government to issue notification of minimum wages and fix timing upto 8 hours a day and if a worker continues his work for more than 8 hours then they must be given over time.
Kashif Bajeer National Manager SPARC said that the registration of FIR under BLSAA 1992 in Multan is a clear sign that bonded labor exists in the country so there is need to establish a separate ministry for bonded Labour which implement labor related laws and Bonded Labour system Abolition Act 1992 with its rules of 1995. After the adoption of18th Amendment by the parliament, the situation has deteriorated further because “The implementation of Labour-related laws and policies is the job of the provinces and it no longer sees itself as responsible for safeguarding the interests of the laborers, he further said.
Punhoon Bheel, Vice President Sindh Batha Mazdoor Federation said that the Sindh Government is so miserable that it has not time to issue notification of minimum wages for brick kiln workers. He asked if the kiln workers are not contributing towards the progress and development of the country. Almost all 900 brick kilns in Sindh have been registered and some workers have received social security cards but the government has denied all basic facilities to brick kiln workers. He demanded to provide, health facilities, clean drinking, water, education, electricity and gas connection to brick kiln worker.
The participants of the rally demanded the followings.
- Separate Bonded Labour Ministry should be established.
- All the workers and laborers should register with Social Security and ensured of issuance of social security Cards.
- A separate fund should be allocation for the rehabilitation of laborers freed from bondage.
- BLSAA 1992 be adopted with amendments for its implementation
- Workers Welfare Fund should be allocated provincial wise.
- District Vigilance Committees should be reactivated throughout country.
Rally in Multan
SPARC Organized the Rally for Brick Kiln Workers to mark the International Labour Day and to highlight the issues of bounded labour, the benefits of Social Security Card & demand to raise their wages staged from Chowk Nawa Sher to Press Club Multan, with the support of Action aid through European Union on dated:30-April-2014. The Rally was started at 4:15 pm from Iqbal Park to Press Club, Mr, Hyacinth Peter, Naeem Ahmad and Saman Malik lead the Rally. The brick kiln labourers were chanting slogans for their rights and freedom from bonded labour. The Rally called for the implementation of Punjab Bonded Labour System Abolition Amended Act-2012 and other labour related laws in the country regarding labourers and like Punjab other provinces should also adopt the bonded labour system act 1992. Mr. Hyacinth Peter said that we pay the tribute and salute to martyr Labourers in Chicago for the struggle and scarifies for the labourers’ right. It needs to unite the entire labourer at one platform for their right.
He said that now days all the political parties are claiming themselves to be a representatives of the labou
rer but they did have any plan in the manifesto regarding eradication of bonded labour in Pakistan and implementation on the bonded labour abolition act 1992. They do not have any plan for the implementation of Minimum w
ages and did not gave tickets to the labourers so they may elect the representative so they voice may rise in the assemblies. No one have any idea for the decent work and implementation on the working hours. It seems that these parties do not have any orientation regarding bonded labour situation in Pakistan and the issues of bonded labourers or they do not have any concern regarding the stigma.
The bonded laborer of brick kiln industry are used to sell from one owner to another, their kidneys are sold for the recovery of their plight. If they are bought with Rs, 100000, then they will be sold to next owner with Rs. 150000. Their rights are confiscated by their owners. Their movement is banned or they cannot go to another owner unless they pay their Peshgi (Advances). The bonded laborer had been demanding to issue the social security cards and to stop the bonded Labour.
They had following demands:
- To implement the Punjab Bonded Labour System Abolition Amended Act 2012
- Like Punjab other provinces should also adopt the bonded Labour abolition act 1992
- To take serious steps to eradicate the bonded labor from country
- To make the rehabilitation centers for the freed bonded laborers
- To fix the working hours for the bonded laborers
- To pay the salaries on monthly bases
- To provide the social security cards
- To provide the sickness benefits
Press Media Briefing In Hyderabad
On Support Social Protection & Decent Work of Brick Kiln Worker & Bonded Laborers in Pakistan on the Occasion of International Labour Day.
More than 70 Media Persons attended the briefing on EC-BKW Project progress and achievement. The aim of the briefing was to aware the media about intervention in Brick Kiln sector with the support of Actionaid and European union and the change brought in the lives of brick kiln worker. Mr. Zahid Ahmed Thebo, Kashif Ba
jeer and Noor Muhammad Bajeer took briefing session. Mr. Zahid Ahmed Thebo informed the participants about the concept of Model Brick Kiln, services delive
red and legal rights achieved by workers through EC-BKW project. Through the support of Actionaid and European union SPARC was able to provide 246 Social Security Cards, 2953 CNICs, 313 non formal education to the children of brick kiln workers, provided medical assistance to 1624 workers and freed 559 bonded brick kiln worker through 70 free legal Aid cases, formed trade Unions and Brick Kiln workers federation in Sindh. Establishment of Police Anti Bonded Labour Cell in Hyderabad and Multan and Human Rights Cell is also a great achievement and a step forward to the realization of Labour right at broader level.
Mr. Kashif Bajeer shared that the provincial government hasn’t so far implemented the Supreme Court’s judgment on providing social protection to brick kiln workers and bonded laborers. He told that SPARC has prepared an amended draft on BLSAA 1992 which will be present at Provincial Policy Seminar to be held in Karachi in the month of May 2014.
Result of Activity
The Rallies in Hyderabad and Multan received great coverage in print and electronic media. The News Channels like Ab Tak, Express News, Sindh Tv, KTN, Aaj TV provided live coverage to the rally in Hyderabad & Waseb provided coverage in Multan.
A Tribute to Later Director SESSI, Azhar Hussain
the Seminar and asked the participants to express their views on the genuine issue of social security Card. Social Security card is basic right of brick kiln workers which was denied to them for years but due the advocacy,
mobilization, motivation and established close liaison with Labour department and social security institution, for the first time in the history of Pakistan the Brick Kiln workers have been provided with social security cards, said Zahid Ahmed Thebo, Provincial Manager SPARC while addressing seminar in a local hotel on motivate Brick kiln owners for providing social security cards to brick kiln workers. Tribute is being given to director Sindh Employees Social Security Institution through this program for his extra ordinary and tireless efforts for the realization of labour rights.
More than 300 brick kiln workers, brick kiln owners, officials from Labour department, SESSI, Police Anti Bonded Labour Cell, Human Rights Cell, Civil Society activist, intellectuals, journalists and advocated participated in the seminar.
A tribute was given to ex Director SESSI, late Azhar Husssain, and candles were lit and flowers were placed before his picture by all the participants of the seminar. They also prayed to rest his soul in peace.
In the seminar, shields and certificates were awarded to all those personalities who worked for the rights of laborers especially had contributed for social security cards. Those who received shields are, Shakeel-ul Zaman Commissioner SESSI, Ghulam Server Uttero Deputy Director Labour, Shafique Ahmed and Ashraf Sahito Deputy Directors SESSI, Fouzia Ashraf Manager Shaheed Benazir Bhutto center for women Crises Center, Shahina Ramzan Presidnet Bhandhar Sangat and SPARC’s Kashir Bajeer and Zahid Thebo.
16 labourers of three brick kilns were given social security cards on the occasion which offer a range of advantages. These include death grant of Rs150,000 to Rs500,000, marriage grant of Rs100,000 to Rs200,000, burial grant, financial and medical support for pregnant andinjured workers and pension of up to 75 per cent of the wages to the handicapped. The cards will allow the workers’ children to get educated at the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (Sessi) model schools and widowed women will receive up to 130 days of wages.
Speaking in the seminar, the labour department’s deputy director, Ghulam Sarwar Uttero, informed that they have registered around 1,000 kilns in the province and the process began after the SC order in 2011. However, the kilns that work temporarily at a particular location for six to eight months have yet to be registered, he added. The kiln workers claimed that there are actually between 2,000 to 3,000 kilns in the province, with a majority of them in Hyderabad and Larkana districts.
Meanwhile, Uttero said the Sindh government is also increasing the rate per 1,000 piece of bricks for the labours to Rs740. The last increment was given in 2008 when Rs350 per 1,000 pieces was fixed. The notification, he added, is likely to be issued by end of March or early April. In Punjab, however, the labours are given over Rs1,200 per 1,000 bricks.
The Sessi deputy director, Ashraf Sehto, revealed that only three kilns have started the contribution of six per cent wage so far. Even among them, only a small number of workers have been given the social security card. “The government’s policy is to persuade the kiln owners to contribute to the fund without resorting to punitive action.”
The law allows the officials to file a complaint in the social security court and to confiscate on the court order the movable property of an employer if they do not contribute for the fund. According to Sehto, some 318 kilns have registered with them but only three of them are paying for the fund.
Punhoon Parehar, who owns two of the kilns whose labours received the cards, said the kiln owners are averse to the idea of giving labour rights to their workforce. “They have become used to exploiting cheap labour.”
Taj Marri, a peasant leader, blamed the provincial government for failing to provide labour status and rights to kiln and agricultural workers. According to him, the kiln sector was given the status of industry in the 1980s but it took the government over three decades to register the kiln workers.
Trade Union Activist, Punhoon Bheel said that they are thankful to SPARC for their tremendous support that today the brick kiln worker are receiving social security cards. He hoped that more social security cards will be prepared and this process will be increased in the days to come. He praised ex director SESSI, Late Azahar Hussain for his unforgettable efforts for brick kiln workers.
Society for the protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) in collaboration with Action Aid Pakistan (AAPK) and European Union, is implementing a project ”Support, Social protection and Decent work of Brick kiln workers and bonded labourers in Pakistan” in Hyderabad and Multan. SPARC intends to hire a consultant/ consulting firm to develop training manual, education tool kit, provide training material, travelling to the participants and conduct Orientation & Non Formal Teachers Inception Training at Tando Haider Hyderabad. The Qualified and experienced candidates/ firms with relevant experience can send expression of interest along with their CVs/ Profile to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, latest by 14th of March 2014