Rumsha Sul­tan Khan, Karachi.

Enterprise - - Letters -

Re­think­ing Labour Day

Labour Day is cel­e­brated an­nu­ally on May 1 as an in­ter­na­tional work­ers’ hol­i­day. It is a day put aside to hon­our work­ers, re­gard­less of the sec­tor they work in. How­ever, in Pak­istan, the lux­ury of af­ford­ing a day off to rest in com­mem­o­ra­tion of their work is only en­joyed by white-col­lar work­ers, of­fice pro­fes­sion­als and those em­ployed in the sec­ondary and ter­tiary sec­tors of the in­dus­try.

Over the years, May Day cel­e­bra­tions in Pak­istan have been re­duced to no more than an an­nual rit­ual with­out the zeal and en­thu­si­asm that had been the hall­mark of the event in the re­cent past. Of course, worker unions stage ral­lies on the day and a num­ber of con­fer­ences and sem­i­nars are held to ac­knowl­edge the con­tri­bu­tion of labour in the de­vel­op­ment of our coun­try and to en­lighten peo­ple about the prob­lems be­ing faced by them and their so­lu­tions. How­ever, it is back to the same old rou­tine the next day. The fate of labour in our coun­try seems to have been handed over to the va­garies of the mar­ket. It is now the prin­ci­ple of sup­ply and de­mand that is what is dic­tat­ing our labour mar­ket cur­rently. As such, labour is of­ten de­prived of even min­i­mum ba­sic pay and min­i­mum health cover and nei­ther do they get enough to send their chil­dren to school.

Self-em­ployed or blue-col­lar work­ers, in­clud­ing ma­sons, painters, elec­tri­cians, me­chan­ics and oth­ers are of­ten spot­ted sit­ting along pave­ments with their set of tools or in their re­spec­tive shops await­ing the ar­rival of the su­per-or­di­nate labour­ers to bring them work so they can have enough money to re­turn home with a sat­is­fy­ing meal for the fam­ily. Labour Day is in­tended to per­ceive the ef­fi­ciency and com­mit­ments of the con­sid­er­able num­ber of work­ers of all sec­tors and they all should have the ca­pac­ity to ob­serve it.

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