Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday announced a new labour policy which raised the minimum wage to Rs7,000 per month from Rs6,000. The prime minister said the new policy was pro-worker and aimed at improving their lot.

Addressing a large gathering of workers from across the country at the Convention Centre, he said approval of the Labour Policy at a special cabinet meeting on May Day was indicative of the government’s commitment to implementing the vision of Benazir Bhutto.

Mr Gilani said the new policy was based on universal principles of equality and social justice, constitutional and international rights for the uplift of workers.

He repeated the government’s commitment to improving the lot of the working class by creating friendly conditions for them.

The prime minister assured all contract employees in government departments that their jobs would be regularised.
He said the pensionable age limit under the employees’ old age benefit scheme would be lowered to 50 years from 55 in case of mine workers.

Legal support and free medical treatment for labourers will also be part of the new policy.

Mr Gilani said private organisations would pay salary to their workers through banks, retired registered workers will get medical facilities and raise in their pensions would be in accordance with increase in government pensions.

Similarly, free technical education will be provided to workers’ children and manpower information centres will be established in different cities.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the government had restored trade unionism and workers were free to form unions and labour bodies for the protection of their rights.
He said that tripartite monitoring committees would be set up at the provincial and federal levels with the task of supervising implementation of labour laws, with particular reference to payment of wages, working environment and working time.

Earlier, speaking at the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Gilani said the government wanted to create an enabling environment for application of universal principles of equality and social justice as well as constitutional and international rights and uplift of workers.

The cabinet was informed that the last labour policy was announced in 2002.

The prime minister briefed the cabinet about his visit to Bhutan for the Saarc summit.