Pakistan Workers Federation warns retired employees could face several problems.
PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Worker Federation (PWF) asked the federal government not to devolve the Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) to provincial units.
Speaking at a workshop in the city on Tuesday, the speakers said the devolution could result in a number of elderly people in K-P and Balochistan suffering a great deal. The federation organised the workshop to inform people, especially the media, about the gravity of the situation. PWF President K-P Razim Khan, Shaukat Anjum and Ishaq Khan briefed the media over the effects of such a move.
“Employees who work in the government sector have a secure future,” said Anjum. “A cash grant and monthly pension is promised at the end of their career.” He added the creation of the EOBI allowed workers at private factories and labour to realise their dreams of getting a monthly pension –something they had never seen in the past.
He told journalists that private sector companies registered their employees with EOBI and handed 5% of the minimum salary of each employee as well as a 1% deduction to the wages to the institute. After retirement, the workers may cash in on the amount accumulated over the years.
The participants said if the institute is devolved, the provincial government should take solid steps to strengthen it. They said the K-P administration could pass a bill for retired employees or ask the federal government to keep the EOBI with it.
According to PWF data, K-P contributed Rs645 million to the EOBI, while it was getting benefits close to Rs2 billion from it. Anjum said the province would lose out on more than Rs1.36 billion. He added Balochistan would also be in a weaker position after the devolution. He said retired employees of both provinces would lose out on a support system to see them through their old age.
PWF President Razim Khan said most people registered with EOBI were less literate and remained unaware of the impact of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He agreed that provincial autonomy was a positive step, but said it would create huge problems for retired workers if applied to the EOBI.
Citing an example, Khan said a labourer belonging of K-P would not be able to get his benefits at home if his work was in Sindh as his company would have contributed to the EOBI of that province. He stressed EOBI had no strategy for migratory workers and labourers.
He further said labourers travel for work from province to province so their process of getting old-age benefit should be simplified. Khan warned if the government was not serious about helping elderly employees, the federation would take to the streets for their rights.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2015.