Pakistan powerloom owners reject minimum wage hike

June 18, 2012 - Pakistan

The powerloom owners in Pakistan’s Punjab have denied accepting the rise in the minimum wages to Pk Rs. 9,000 per month, and have called on the government to exempt the powerloom industry from power load-shedding, which is barring them from operating beyond four days per week.
 
The powerloom representatives voiced their denial during a meeting convened by Hassan Iqbal Malik, Secretary of Labour, Punjab and the Minimum Wages Board Chairman.
 
Except for powerlooms, representatives of all other 50 industries of the province approved the wage hike decision.
 
Mr. Malik said it would not be possible for the Government to grant an exemption to any industry from raising the minimum wages, as stipulated. 
 
Announcing a hike of Rs. 1,000 per month, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fixed the minimum wages at Rs. 8,000 per month. However, in order to earn a political advantage in the forthcoming general elections, the Punjab government raised the same by another Rs. 1,000 per month and fixed it at Rs. 9,000 per month.
 
In Pakistan, the powerloom industry is concentrated in four big cities namely, Karachi, Kasur, Multan and Faisalabad, three of which are in Punjab.
 
According to the estimates, the four cities house over 360,000 powerlooms, with at least three people working on one loom. The industry thus serves as a source of employment for over one million people.