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New minimum wage in Pakistan is a union win

10 November, 2021The provincial government in Sindh, Pakistan, increased the minimum wage for unskilled workers above the set national increase. Employers went to court, but a judgement last month ruled that the Sindh government’s minimum wage should not be interfered with.

When the government of Pakistan’s Sindh province announced an increase in minimum wage for unskilled workers from PKR17,500 (US$103) to PKR25,000 (US$146) per month as of 1 July, the Employers Federation of Pakistan,among others, submitted a petition to court, accusing the Sindh government of trying to score political points.

In return, union leaders in the province, including IndustriALL affiliates NTUF and HBWWF, filed a petition for the implementation of the minimum wage at PKR25,000 per month.

After hearings in September, the Sindh High court announced on 15 October that it upheld the government of Sindh’s decision and that the minimum wage rate be kept PKR25,000 per month.

The court further declared that female workers should be paid a minimum wage equal to male counterparts in the same category. The court fixed minimum hourly wage at PKR120 (US$0,7).

Nasir Mansoor, NTUF general secretary, said:

“If the state institutions take decisions in the light of the Pakistan’s constitution to ensure the provision of basic rights to the workers, then there is no reason why the problems of the workers could not be resolved. The provincial court’s decision reflects the needs and rights of millions of labourers in the province.”