The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the Sindh government to fix a minimum wage of Rs 19,000 for workers in province.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the appeals against raising the minimum wage for workers to Rs25,000 per month.
The court said that 19,000 wage should be paid to all industrial and commercial employees and within two months the wage board and Sindh government should fix the minimum wage by consensus.
Earlier in December the Supreme Court had suspended Sindh government's July 19's notification of raising the minimum wage for workers after one of the organisations challenged the minimum wage notification.
The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Employers Federation of Pakistan, Phoenix Security Service (Pvt) Ltd Karachi, Aziz Tabba Foundation Karachi, Gray Marchenzie Restaurants International Limited Karachi and SRG Service (Pvt) Limited Karachi are the petitioners.
“Ours is a trans-provincial organisation and comes under the federal legislative regime with regard to the fixation of minimum wages and that the Sindh Minimum Wages Act (SMWA) 2015 is not applicable to us,” one of the petitioners said.
The petitioners pleaded that the board had recommended a minimum wage of Rs19,000 per month, raising it from Rs17,500.
But the Sindh cabinet raised the wage to Rs25,000 per month without issuing a gazette notification.
During today's hearing the apex court, while separating the petition of the inter-provincial organization from the case, said that the application of the federal government's law on provincial industries would be examined separately.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked what was the minimum wage fixed by the federation? How is the minimum wage increased in Sindh?
The organisations' lawyer Abid Zubair replied that the minimum wage of the federation is 20,000. In Sindh, the provincial cabinet approved the minimum wage of 25,000.
Justice Omar Ata Bandial asked Meanwhile, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked the role of government in fixing the minimum wage.
The advocate responded that the minimum wage in Sindh is recommended by the Sindh Wage Board, it is up to the provincial government to accept the recommendation of the board or not.
The lawyer said that according to the law, the provincial government was bound to follow the recommendation of the board. As per the law if the provincial government objects to the recommendations of the board, it should return the matter within 30 days.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked whether the matter would be put on hold if there was no consensus between the Sindh Government and the Wage Board. He noted that the minimum wage was set at Rs 20,000 across the country while the Sindh Wage Board recommended Rs 19,000.
The court ordered to pay the minimum wage of Rs 19,000 as proposed by the Sindh Wage Board to all the industrial and commercial employees in the province.