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Labour Day
 
 
 

Labour Day is celebrated on May 1 every year with great zeal and fervour in commemoration of economic and social achievements of Labour Union Movement, which started from the United States of America in 19th century. The main reason of existence of this movement was that there was a practice of taking unlimited working hours by the workers in the industrial areas of Chicago in those days without giving them any weekly holiday and additional financial incentives. It was an extreme of cruelty that the workers usually worked in unsecured condition in industrial premises due to which the accidents were common. Similarly, there was no legal binding on exploitation and child labour. The common status of a worker was just like a slave in the eyes of his employer. This injustice system compelled the Labour Union Movement to launch struggle against the employers for acceptance of its demand through eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest

The history of this Movement is based on the fact that some labours were killed on the issue of an eight-hour workday in Chicago in 1886, which turned the Labour Movement into strong drive. Thereafter, a mass meeting of industrial workers was held at Haymarket Square to protest against the inhuman treatment of the police force. Unfortunately, an unknown person threw bomb on the police at the end of peaceful meeting, which killed one police man and injured seventy.

   
 

Consequently, four persons namely Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolft Fischer and George Engel were hanged on November 11, 1887 on the false charge of Haymarket bombing according to the decision of a kangaroo court, which lost the confidence of the public opinion in United States of America.

This situation laid a great pressure on the State due to which it had to accept and provide the legal support to the eight hour working and other genuine facilities for the working class. Similarly, a congress of World Socialist Parties was held in Paris in 1889, which voted to support the United States Labour Movement’s demand for an eight hour workday. It proposed May 1, 1890 as day of demonstration in favour of eight-hour workday.

Since then, the Labour Movement spread all over the world from the United States of America and the Labour Movement assumed the shape of a public holiday at international level. The importance of this historic day is highlighted all over the world through the speeches, meetings, rallies, banners as well as the presentation of the special reports by the electronic and print media.

   
 

It’s normal not to always see eye to eye with those around you. Even so, a disagreement doesn’t have to become a stressful confrontation. When you approach your loved one or co-worker respectfully and reorganize that you are each entitled to your own opinion and having different opinions doesn’t have to change your opinion of one another. If it seems like an argument is spiraling out of control, take a deep breath and step back from the situation. A brief time out can help both of you keep things in perspective.

The Labour Community of Pakistan is celebrating the Labour Day today with an official holiday in accordance with the similar spirit and tradition of international workers. The labour is an important segment of our society for playing a significant role in economic development through the manufacturing, industrial, agricultural and domestic sectors. The major portion of national income of any country is derived in this direction from the labour. A late President of America Abraham Lincoln, in a message to the Congress on December, 1816 expressed on the importance of this fact as: “Labour is prior and independent of capital”.

The developed countries have adopted this secrecy of success in their policies for achieving the goal of economic progress and prosperity.

America, Britain, Australia, France, China, Japan, France and South Korea are included among those countries, which are now standing at the destination of the progress and prosperity only for giving due importance to their Labour Forces. On the contrary, the economic condition of the labour community in Pakistan is not satisfactory for lack of basic facilities. The present salary of working class is of Rs. 6,000/- per month, which is quite insufficient to meet their day-to-day expenses in these days of unbearable price hike. It is a matter of noteworthy that the skill and laborious nature of Pakistani workers are highly appreciated in foreign countries. These countries prefer to hire Pakistani workers in comparison to other countries of the world due to these qualities.

There are many organizations in the country which are either outside the net of labour legislation or have not the system of collective bargaining agents therein for settlement of better wages and working condition of the workers. As such the employees of these organizations have not the facilities of paid holidays, job security, overtime, medical, pension and provident fund etc. It is the need of hour to bring all these organizations under the net of labour legislation to give genuine and legal benefits to the workers. Despite this fact, there is no lack of such kind employers in our country who voluntarily do justice with their employees in paying good remuneration along with other benefits to them. The Labour Day has fallen this year at a time, when Pakistan has entered into the new era of its history through the unanimous approval of the 18th amendment by the Lower and Upper Houses of the parliament. This is a glorious victory of all the political parties and democratic forces to restore the constitution of 1973 in its original shape, which was changed during the dictatorial regimes for their own interest. It is quite hoped that this amendment will provide better opportunity to the government for addressing the public grievances and resolving their problems on a priority basis. According to press, the Labour Policy is expected to be announced today under the shade of this change with a hope and pray for the betterment of the labour community of Pakistan on the similar pattern of historical legacy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s era, which gave empowerment and social justice to it through the first Labour Policy in 1972, declaration of 1st May as Gazetted Holiday, Social Security Network, Old Age Benefit Scheme, Workers Welfare Fund.

The labour community received a great setback when the right of trade unionism was snatched by it during the dictatorial regime of Pervez Musharraf. This is an outstanding achievement of the present government, which restored the status of Trade Unions in the country and gave courage to the labour community to raise its voice at every platform. This decision was announced by Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at the time of his assuming the slot of Prime Ministership on March 29, 2008 and it received a deep sense of appreciation at that time from all over the country. The founder of Pakistan Peoples Party and Quiad-e-Awam Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto and his beloved daughter Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto always used to say in their speeches that the poor, farmers, hawkers, and general workers are the backbone of the Pakistan Peoples party. These two top leaders of their days left this mortal world with the ardent desire to see these classes of the people in a prosperous position. Thus, it is the demand of the Labour Day that the Government should carry out their un-finished mission for the uplift of these ignored segments of the society.

Islam is an universal religion, which has given more protection to the rights of the Labours than the concept involved behind the existence of any system of the world like the Labour Day (MAY DAY). Islam not only protects the rights of the employees but also of the employers. It has laid stress on the Master to pay fully for the work done and the worker shall work for him with sincerity, honesty, faithfully and diligently. Islam has given clear direction about the behaviour of the employers for fair treatment with workers and subordinates. According to a famous Hadith, the wages of a labour must be paid to him before the sweat dries upon his body. In another Hadith, the holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “It is the responsibility of employer to take only such work from the employees, which they can do easily. They should not be made to work so that their health is impaired”. The best solution of forming mutual cordial relations between its employee and employer lies upon the pillar of justice-based system of Islam to take care genuine rights of each other. Pakistan being an Islamic State, we should try to follow this golden system as it directs both these two classes of society to perform their respective role with honesty, sincerity and loyalty for the economic progress and prosperity of the country.


 
 
 
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