Karachi: The Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) has strongly noted a news item alleging that the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, along with its foreign contractors and sub-contractors, is blatantly violating labor laws without facing any consequences. This report brings attention to the alarming practice of employing child labor, with workers as young as 12 years old being engaged as sanitary workers. The task of garbage collection inherently carries occupational safety and health requirements, and the employment of children in such hazardous conditions poses a serious risk to their well-being. The report has highlighted the employment of Child Labor, as young as 12 years old, as sanitary workers. The job of garbage collection is susceptible to occupational safety and health requirements, and employing children puts them at high risk.

EFP further added that the sanitary workers are not paid the Minimum Wage as they are getting maximum Rs 15,000 net which is less than half of the prescribed Minimum Wage of Rs 32,000 per month. EFP added that it is ironic that the government officials take strict action against those industries and commercial organizations who violate the Minimum Wage payments but there is no action against SSWMB and the foreign contractor.

EFP demanded that the Sindh Chief Minister Justice (Rtd.) Maqbool Baqar takes urgent cognizance of these labor law violations and takes immediate action to ensure that SSWMB complies with all labor, environmental, and human rights standards. It is a common sight all over Karachi to see uncollected garbage and very few sanitary workers.

It is also imperative that the agreement between SSWMB and the foreign contractor be openly published in newspapers so as to understand what terms and conditions were agreed by both parties. “EFP called upon leaders of various Workers Federations to raise their voices against this inhumane, illegal, and unwarranted policies of SSWMB.”

EFP further demanded that SSWMB immediately order the foreign contractors and sub-contractors to stop using Child Labor. EFP further demanded that SSWMB must immediately pay arrears, being the difference between the prescribed Minimum Wage and the actual payment, to all sanitary workers. This must be informed to all concerned through newspaper and social media advertisements.

EFP also demanded that the Managing Director of SSWMB issue a public apology within 72 hours, not only to the sanitary workers but also to the three ILO Constituents, namely Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, Pakistan Workers Federation, and Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.