After a long wait of over two decades, the Federal
Minister for Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis, Mr. Owais Ahmad
Ghani announced the new Labour policy in Islamabad last week "aimed
at creating a better working relationship between the employees and the
Addressing a press conference to explain to the
newsmen the salient features of the new policy, Mr. Ghani claimed that
it was a balanced policy evolved after a broadbased consultations with
all the stakeholders. He hoped that it will serve the cause of both the
parties. The main stakeholder, the workers have however expressed their
dismay and disappointment over the policy coming after almost 3 decades
and providing them no immediate relief in terms of increased wages.
"It only announces that wages will be revised after every 3
years", Labour leaders complained.
It is almost after a period of three decades that a
new Labour policy has been approved and the most important legislation
governing the industrial relations within a country has been revised.
The Labour Policy and Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO) are important
milestones in the overall reform agenda of the present government.
The Labour policy 2002 and the Industrial Relations
Ordinance have been finalized after evolving consensus through extensive
dialogue with all stakeholders including workers, employers, provincial
governments and various federal ministries/ divisions. Great impetus for
this task was received from the recommendations of the Tripartite Labour
Conference held in July last year after a period of 13 years, the
The main thrust of the present policy is to replace
the traditional adversarial relationship with a mutual trust
relationship between the employer and employee. Therefore, it focuses on
strengthening bilateralism through promotion of social dialogue and
supporting bilateral bodies such as Workers Employers Bilateral Council
The role of the government is seen only as a
facilitator and regulator.
The highlights of the policy and the action plan are
to consolidate and simplify labour laws, human resource development
through vocational training, addressing occupational safety and health
issues, provision of improved social safety net to workers, and quality
education to workers' children, combating child labour and bonded 1abour
and inter-ministerial coordination to address the challenge of
The revision of the IRO 1969 as Industrial Relations
Ordinance 2002 is a significant step towards the rationalization and
simplification of labour laws envisaged in the agenda of the labour
Policy. IRO 2002 has been drafted in the light of input received from
all stakeholders most importantly the workers and employers.
The present government committing itself to a
balanced 1abour policy, remained stuck up in thrashing out its details
in such a manner as to make it acceptable to both the employees and the