Government has no right to decide labour salaries, say industries owners
The Sindh High Court has instructed the provincial government to review the wages of unskilled workers or labourers and negotiate with stakeholders. Until the negotiations come to a conclusion, the unskilled worker should be paid a minimum wage of Rs25,000 per month, the court has ordered.
The court on Friday announced the verdict after it concluded hearing on petitions from various industries against the Sindh government’s decision to raise the minimum wage to Rs25,000.
Abid Zuberi, the lawyer representing the owners of various industries told the court that the government did not fulfil the legal requirements to increase the minimum wages. As a result, he said, unskilled workers from other provinces would come to Sindh, and industrialists would move to other provinces.
He said Sindh has more industrial units and pays more taxes than other provinces.
The Sindh secretary labour told the court that names have been sent for the appointment of the wage board chairman but no one had agreed to take this position.
The government has no right to decide the salaries of labourers, said Khalid Javed, the lawyer representing Karachi Chamber of Commerce.
The counsel for Employer’s Federation of Pakistan, Khalid Mehmood Siddiqui, said the government should accept recommendations of the wage board or send it back.
The court remarked that judges knew that if the industry got into trouble, it won’t be able to pay the minimum wage it was already paying.
Zuberi said that the government had not even issued the notification about the mutually agreed minimum wage which was Rs19,000. If the wage is increased to Rs100,000, inflation will also rise, he said.
Sindh Additional Advocate General Ali Safdar told the court that when there was a lack of understanding between the parties, the government had to come forward. “The government has the power to fix the wages for the workers because the state is mother to all its citizens,” he said.
The Sindh High Court said that the decision of the government would be upheld till the next decision on the minimum wages so the minimum wage stays at Rs25,000 per month.
In the provincial budget 2021-22, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced 20% raise for the government employees and increased the minimum wage by 43% from Rs17,500 to Rs25,000.
The businessmen in Sindh, especially in Karachi, were ‘highly aggrieved and perturbed’ by the Sindh Government’s decision to increase the minimum wage.
The hike in the minimum wage will increase the expenses of the businesses as they will be paying higher wages to workers than before.
The businessmen from different industries have shown dissatisfaction with the Sindh government’s decision to increase the minimum wage by 43%.
Over a dozen trade bodies, including the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), communicated the displeasure in a joint statement.