In continuation of its tradition BLLF Pakistan staged a workers' rally to tribute Martyrs of Chicago and express solidarity with all workers of Pakistan and raise the voice of brick kiln workers.
International Labour Day rally was started from BLLF's Freedom Campus Lawrence Road and ended at Lahore Press club at
12.30 pm. More than 500 brick kiln workers participated in the rally and demanded for an effective legal frame to implement International Labour and Human Rights’ Conventions in the Brick Kiln Industry in the context of ILO Decent Work Agenda. Syeda Ghulam Fatima sensitized workers regarding the importance of Labour Day and strength of labor solidarity. She said today in 21st century civilized nations are talking about the rights of the caged animals while Govt of Punjab has legalized slavery under the pretext of prohibition of child labor act 2016. Brick kiln workers are vulnerable to worst forms of slavery. She demanded for a legal framework to implement international
police and human rights’ standards in the country in the context of “Decent Work Agenda of ILO” duly signed by GoP. Mr Mahar Safdar Ali said that the wage of brick kiln workers is not calculated per their work. Therefore, notified wage is firstly too low to meet both ends. In addition to this even this too low wage is not fully paid and brick kiln owners are earning PKR 4300 million per year by deducting
wages of ignorant workers under the pretext of never ending debts. He demanded for the living wage in the brick kiln industry. Mr. Mahar Safdar Ali also demanded to stop state terrorism against brick kiln workers in District Kasur. Addressing to the workers Advocate Ayaz Hussaindemanded for the fair survey of brick kiln workers. He said that Punjab Board of Statistics and Urban Unit has collected
fake data of brick kilns workers that is why these workers are deprived of the benefits of “Khidmat Card”. He said there would be no need of advance debts if brick kiln workers are provided with social protection under PSSI, WWF and EOBI. Advocate Ayaz also demanded for the
legal framework to implement ILO Forced Labor Protocol 2014 to Convention 29. Addressing to the workers Mr. Gulzar Maseeh said that without social protection instruments brick kiln workers are vulnerable to forced labor. He stated that police in connivance with owners is promoting forced labor in district Patoki and Kasur.
At the end, participants of the rally preferred following
- Govt should investigate the corruption of PKR 500 million under The Integrated Project for the Abolition of Bonded Labor;
- BLLF refutes the wrong claim to register 87 thousand brick kiln workers’ children and demands for the fair and free education of brick kiln workers’ children;
- BLLF also demand for a fair survey of brick kiln workers;
- Khidmat cards have not been provided to brick kiln workers. Therefore, Govt should make sure the provision of “Khidmat card”, “social security card” to brick kiln workers
- Housing and water and sanitation facilities must be provided to brick kiln workers;
- Effective measures must be taken to implement the Bonded Labor System Abolition act 2012 in its true sense and spirit;
- Section 4 of The Punjab Prohibition of Child Labor at Brick Kilns act 2016 must be repealed as it Promotes slavery in the brick kiln industry
- Minimum wage per 1000 bricks should increase up to PKR 1500/
- Chief minister Punjab must probe the registration of fake criminal cases against brick kiln workers, vulnerable to forced labor and action against responsible police officers;
- To stop police violence in connivance with brick kiln owners against the victims of forced labor there is an urgent need of a High -Profile Commission for the fact finding of Fake Criminal FIRs.
- All political parties must address the issue of bonded labor/forced labor in their constitution and cancel the membership of party leadership if anyone is found involved in the evil practice of bonded labor.