No guarantee of rights

Same as last year

Workers' rights violations

Silencing the age of anger

In Pakistan, teachers’ protests during a long-running dispute over pay and job stability were met with police violence and mass arrests.

Riot police used water cannon and batons to attack peaceful demonstrations by government schoolteachers on 30 May and 1 June 2022 in Karachi. Over 250 protesters were arrested.

Violence was also used against protesting teachers on 18 July. A rally meant to start at the Karachi Press Club and end at the Sindh Chief Minister’s house was forcibly dispersed by police who beat and arrested demonstrators.

The teachers had been holding a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club for several days, calling for regularisation and assured annual increments in their salary. They decided to march to the Chief Minister’s house after a lack of response from the provincial government.

Similar incidents were repeated in September and October. In September, authorities manhandled over 100 protestors on their way to the Sindh Assembly and Chief Minister’s house to demand the regularisation of their jobs. On 8 October, the police used tear gas and batons against primary school teachers, who were staging a peaceful protest outside the provincial assembly. More than a dozen were injured and sent to hospitals, and more than 80 were arrested.

Workers excluded from labour protections

Laws in Pakistan did not guarantee a right to organise for agricultural workers, domestic workers, home-based workers or workers in the informal sector. Workers in agricultural establishments were covered by the laws in only two provinces, Sindh and Balochistan. This, therefore, excluded a large share of agricultural workers, both at the federal and provincial levels. In practice, only three unions of agricultural workers in one province have been established.

Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes

On 11 November 2022, police arrested 70 protesting community health workers, nurses, paramedics and doctors including Shamim Ara, the General Secretary of All Sindh Lady Health Workers & Employees Union (ASLHWEU) in Pakistan.

ASLHWEU had been campaigning for better working conditions and demanding the health risk allowance be restored as part of workers’ salaries. With no response from the provincial government, the workers began to march towards the Chief Minister’s House. A strong police force was deployed using water cannon, tear gas and batons against the health workers. The 70 workers arrested were held in detention overnight. All the women involved were released in the early morning of 12 November, while 12 doctors and paramedics were kept in custody until 13 November, when a magistrate ordered their release.

Workers’ rights in law

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