KARACHI: Workers representatives bodies have urged the government to provide universal social security to all Pakistani citizens and in this regard necessary amendment be made in the Constitution to make Social Security a fundamental right, which is currently part of Principles of Policy Chapter of the Constitution.
In a joint statement here on Saturday, the labour leaders including Karamat Ali, the Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER); Habibuddin Junaidi, Peoples Labour Bureau; Nasir Mansoor, National Trade Unions Federation; Liaqat Sahi, State Bank Democratic Workers Union; Ms. Zehra Khan, Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF); Ms. Farhat Perveen, NOW Communities, and others pointed out that the Article 38 pertaining to Promotion of social and economic well-being of the people should be made part of Chapter 2 of the Fundamental Rights in the Constitution.
The sub-section (c) of the Constitution’s Article 38 says the state will provide for all persons employed in the service of Pakistan or otherwise, social security by compulsory social insurance or other means.
The Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Act, 1976 and provincial Employees Social Security Acts 1965 are in place for half and a century made to ensure provision of social security to registered workers, but unfortunately only a small number ( 5)% of workers are able to take benefits under these provisions because of absence of any universal social security scheme.
The Sindh government had initiated ground work to provide universal social security to all citizens, but it is still not materialized, the statement said.
During the coronavirus pandemic all industries and business places are closed due to lockdown in the entire country, which has created economic hardships and problems for workers and daily earning labourers. Although some schemes have been announced by both federal and provincial governments to provide food ration or cash grants to the people, majority of the workers are not benefited from these schemes due to various reasons.
There is a dire need to launch a universal social security programme for all citizens to ensure that all people are protected from hardships of the emergencies like lock downs or epidemics. The social security entitle registered people for unemployment allowance, sickness and injury allowance and old age and disability benefits