What comes to your mind when you see a skyscraper? Height, magnitude, grandeur. An impressive marvel of modern construction engineering and technology. However there is something more basic without which none of this would take shape. The human hand. The hand that digs ground, lays foundation, erects pillar, draws ceiling and develops a habitable structure – be them residential or commercial. Be them a small house to a mega dam. We commonly refer to them as labourers or blue collar workers. This write-up today is a salute to the workers that build Pakistan.
With every new housing society inhabited, every skyscraper built, every motorway rolled-out, every airport commissioned and every water dam constructed, a nation moves forward. Pakistan’s labour force stands at 63.4 million strong as per the Pakistan Labour Force Survey 2017-18. Pakistan is globally ranked among the top ten countries based on the size of labour force. Pakistan’s labour force is its most prized asset that has not only strengthened its foundations but built great structures and cities in other countries. Pakistani labourers are credited with the development of Dubai – a city of skyscrapers and wide infrastructural expanses that is today a global tourism and trading hub. Given the right environment and opportunities the same labour force can turn Pakistan into a regional hub especially in the context of CPEC projects.
The International Labor Day on May 1 is dedicated to the social and economic contributions of workers all around the world. The prosperity, progress and modernization of Pakistan speaks for their invaluable role. In return we must ensure that due measures are taken for the development and well-being of our workers. In pace with the technological advances in construction technology, smart building systems and automated services, Pakistan must upgrade and expand its vocational training centres across the country. These steps will ensure gradual increase in wage appreciation for our workers and secure their jobs as current skills and tools become redundant.
Health is a major concern for labourers. A worker is only as good as his or her health permits. Life and medical insurance covers are key to the well-being and growth of our labour force. Our labourers build houses for us but a vast number themselves cannot afford a roof over their heads.
Low-cost housing initiative by the Pakistani government is a much needed initiative. A special programme under this initiative must also be launched to provide accommodation for the labourer segment. These are just some of the aspects that need immediate attention in order to keep Pakistani labour force an effective, enabling and progressive component of our socio-economic journey into the future.
On this Labour Day join Graana.com in recognizing these heroes that silently labour in strengthening the foundations of Pakistan and building a progressive tomorrow. Skyscrapers mean more than mere structures from today.
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