PAKISTAN: The successful passage of the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) 2012 by the National Assembly of Pakistan on March 14, 2012 brings stability to industrial relations legislation in Pakistan. Earlier in April 2010, the labour laws were brought to a critical situation with the 18th Constitutional Amendment, which deleted the concurrent list and devolved the right from federal government to provincial governments to legislate industrial relations laws.
Thus the 18th amendment created a constitutional void to deal with trans-provincial industrial disputes, industrial federations and national trade union federations. Consequently, a Supreme Court ruling on June 2, 2011 abolished the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC), the apex body that adjudicates trans-provincial industrial disputes, registration and regulation of industrial and national trade union federations.
The legal vacuum was filled with the promulgation of the Industrial Relations Ordinance on July 17, 2011 and it was to expire on November 17, 2011. After the protests staged by workers, the National Assembly gave an extension up to March 17, 2012. Now with the adoption of IRA 2012, the crisis is forestalled. It also avoided the expiration of NIRC and legal status of national and industrial trade union federations.