Remarking the efforts of millions of workers, Pakistan, along with many countries around the Globe celebrates the “Labor Day” on 1st may 2014. More commonly known as “May Day”, the holiday acknowledges the rights of workers all around the globe. Many come together in the form of groups and rallies to celebrate the much needed appreciation of the efforts of workers that strive hard every day to make a living and provide their services in return to the world.
It is a day that carries intense discussions and debates over the rights of a worker, processions and seminars are held to identify the gaps needed to be filled in order to establish better socio-economic conditions and banners and brochures are distributed to celebrate what is now a national holiday in most countries. The origin of this day goes way back in the 1880s when socialism was a very new and modern phenomenon. Agitated workers who used to work 16 hours a day with no social security and pay releases, raised their voices against the hard working hours and demanded 8 hours shift rather than sixteen in America.
Thus a number of socialists and labor unions sprung up and demanded employment rights and social security from government. Thus the Federation of Organized Trade and Labor recognized the 8 working hours appeal and declared it open on and after 1st may 1884. The movement was so strong that it spread throughout the globe in the coming ages.
This year, Pakistan celebrates the International Labor Day on Thursday, 1st may 2014. The labor Policy in Pakistan was initially established in 1972 and 1st May was declared a public holiday for the nation. Being a member of the specialized United Nation Agency “the International Labor Organization”, Pakistan celebrates this day not only to acknowledge the efforts of workers but to enhance the conditions and working opportunities for laborers around the country. Pakistan has attended a total of 36 ILO sessions and being an honorable member of the committee, Pakistan bears the responsibility to protect the rights of its workers and regulate better working environment for the working class.
However, with deteriorating socio-economic conditions within the country, hyped up prices, electricity shortage, little or no law enforcement, rising rate of poverty, makes the life of a common worker much more difficult as imagined. Nevertheless, in hopes of improving the situation of the country and creating capacity for better working conditions, TV shows, newspapers and billboards are hoarded with the International Labor day slogans andpublications.
The key is basically to generate a productive and managed policy for development and sustainable working conditions. The truth remains that Pakistan still has a long way to go in protecting the rights of its citizens, least to say of its workers. Low wages, hyped up prices and no checks and balance on the prohibition of child labor, the country is known to have amongst the worst conditions for laborers and workers. The resolution for this year’s Labor Day should and must be to focus on devising gender friendly and economically equitable conditions for the people.