Laiba Hassan

Jalaras, a resident of Peshawar who works for a private organization in Peshawar is not happy with the minimum wage. “It is next to impossible to survive on Rs 26,000 a month in this sky-high inflation,” he said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved to increase the minimum wage for unskilled workers employed in private sector to Rs 26,000. KP cabinet approved the increase in the minimum wage in its meeting on August 11, 2022.

The cabinet declared the KP Wage Board will make decision on minimum wage for the private sector.

KP government spokesperson Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that provincial government was aware of difficulties faced by the laborers and striving to utilize all available resources to provide relief underprivileged segments of society.

On the other hand, details obtained under the KP Right to Information Act 2013 showed that the provincial directorate of labor has registered 1980 cases during 10 months of the current year for violation for minimum wage.

Similarly, the directorate has also carried out 11,520 inspections during the current wage inspections and registered 1980 cases against violators. The court also imposed Rs. 5.99 million fine in about 1540 cases.

Similarly, KP government has under the KP Minimum Wage Act 2013, has also setup a wage board to determine minimum wage rate for the different categories of laborers working industrial and commercial entities. Both the workers and employers are represented in this board. This board has decided to increase the minimum wage to Rs 26,000 per month from the next month.

The minimum wage is reviewed while keeping the economic situation and prices of daily use commodities.

On the other hand, sources in the labor department are of the view that minimum wage could only be implemented when the department inspectors are allowed impose heavy fines on the employers violating the provisions of relevant legislation.

They said that daily wage laborers were being badly exploited by their employers, who not only pay less to their employees but also keep them working longer hours without overtime.

They also said that Pakistan has also badly failed in implementation of labors laws.

Inflation and minimum wage

On the other hand, several unskilled workers from Peshawar, TTN spoke to said that it was difficult to survive in the existing minimum wage. A Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar security guard said that he works 12 hour a day and is paid Rs 20,000 per month.

It is becoming nearly impossible for me to pay food and utility bills in this salary. He said that the prices of all daily use items have sky-rocketed after government announcements to increase the minimum wage by Rs 5000.

The consumers point out that there has been many fold increase in prices of ghee and chicken in provincial capital and other areas of the province. Ghee was being sold Rs 500 per kg while chicken was costing Rs 321 per kg.

Ali Akbar, a resident of Peshawar said that prices of daily use items including flour, ghee, vegetables, fruits, meat, and chicken were on the rise despite government decision to not jack up petroleum products prices.

He said that good quality of ghee was being sold for Rs 500 in open while chicken price has gone up Rs 26 per kg in a single day.

Similarly, prices, of vegetables and pulses have also witnessed an increase ۔

Te consumers have demanded proper planning to control the inflation an price hike and strict action against hoarders.

KP Minimum Wage Board

KP government has setup a minimum wage board under the KP Minimum Wage Act 2013, which has been empowered to recommend to the government the minimum rates of wages for adult, skilled and unskilled workers and juvenile workers employed in industrial undertakings in the province.

Besides, the board will also review its recommendations, if any change in the economic conditions and cost of living and other relevant factors so demand, and recommend to government any amendment, modification or revision of the minimum rates of wages.

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