Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Is the Minimum Wage a ‘Living Wage’ in Pakistan?

by Kabeer Dawani

A worker stitches a football at a stitching center in rural Sialkot
Photo credit: Collective team

In June 2016, while announcing their budgets for the 2016-17 fiscal year, the federal government and all the provincial governments increased the monthly minimum wage for unskilled workers from Rs.13,000 to Rs.14,000. Similar increases in the minimum wage have been made in previous years as well, and as far as we know, no criteria on needs or cost of living are used to determine the minimum wage. Given that these increases are arbitrary, the question arises: is the minimum wage even sufficient for a worker and his/her family to live a basic but decent life?

Monday, 15 August 2016

Coercion inside the home

by Haris Gazdar and Ayesha Khan

Domestic workers in the 14th century
Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Bonded labour constitutes one of the gravest violations of individual human rights. It is perceived — both at the popular level, as well as among legislators and the judiciary — as akin to slavery. Yet, bonded labour often comes disguised in a web of legitimate ‘voluntary’ economic transactions mediated through social control. Haris Gazdar and Ayesha Khan explored bonded labour in domestic work and begging in a chapter in the book ‘Bonded Labour in Pakistan’. The book is edited by Ayaz Qureshi and Ali Khan and published by the Oxford University Press. An excerpt of the chapter was recently featured in Dawn’s Books and Authors. An even shorter version with a focus on rural domestic work is reproduced here.