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Pakistan: Labour movement leaders seek probe into activities of Sindh Employees Social Security Institution and the Sindh Works Welfare Board - selected news reports

14 December 2016

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The News - December 14, 2016

Union leaders lament stripping labour adviser of his powers

Karachi

Say Saeed Ghani was working hard to curb corruption in labour department, especially in SESSI

Leaders of trade unions and labour associations lamented on Tuesday that provincial labour adviser Saeed Ghani, on court orders, had been restrained by the government from exercising any executive authority in the affairs of the Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution (SESSI).

Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club, they demanded that the Sindh government should form a judicial commission to probe into the corruption, mismanagement and malpractices in the provincial labour department and its affiliated bodies, especially in the SESSI.

The labour leaders included Karamat Ali, the secretary of National Labour Council, Shafiq Ghauri, the president of the Sindh Labour Federation, Habibuddin Junadi, the convener of the Sindh Labour Solidarity Committee, Shaukat Ali of the All Pakistan Trade Union Congress, Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation, Latif Mughal of the People’s Labour Bureau, Mohsin Raza of the KWSB Workers Union, Jalil Shah of the KPT Workers Union, Jafar Khan of the Muttahida Labour Federation, Zehra Khan of the Home-based Workers Network, Manzoor Razi of the Railway Workers Unions, Qamrul Hassan of the IUF and Zafar Abbase of the SESSI Employees Union.

They said labour institutions including the SESSI and the Sindh Workers Welfare Board are plagued with corruption and a group of bureaucracy had created a cartel to swindle the funds allocated for the welfare of workers.

“We support the measures taken by Saeed Ghani for the improvement of the functioning of provincial labour organisations and demand that government should immediately form a judicial commission to fix responsibilities so that severe action can be taken against the corrupt officers,” said Karamat Ali.

He added that after Ghani appointment as the labour adviser, there was visible improvement in the performance of SESSI-run hospitals and other institutions.

“But a powerful group of bureaucrats in the department tried hard to stop him.”

Counting the achievements since Ghani took charge, Ali said the Sindh labour department was able to vacate 1,000 flats at Labour Square in Gulshan-e-Maymar and there were visible savings in the medical expenses at the SESSI health facilities in SITE and Landhi.

Besides, the Sindh government has approved a home-based workers policy, the only one in the country.

Ali also pointed out that a tri-partite labour conference was going to be held in Sindh in January 2017. Holding tri-partite labour conference is a requirement under the International Labour Organisation Convention signed by Pakistan. Sindh is the first province which is holding a tri-partite labour conference after several years.

“All that was possible because of Senator Saeed Ghani’s personal interest in curbing corruption in the labour department,” Ali maintained.

Shafiq Ghauri pointed out that there were serious cases of embezzlement in the provincial labour department including SESSI and SWWB.

“There was an incident where the anti-corruption department had unearthed a corruption worth Rs289.3 million in SESSI and it was decided to register an FIR against the officers concerned. But so far no action has been taken in that case,” he added.

Ghauri said he had written a letter on July 18, 2016 to the director general of the Commercial Audit Sindh and pointed out that for the last 20 years, no audit had been held in SESSI by a reputable audit firm and there was no standard operation procedure for the purchase of medicines.

Ghauri said an internal audit report had pointed out grave financial irregularities in the purchase of medicines worth Rs 215 million in Kalsoom Valika Social Security Hospital in SITE. He said some fake labour leaders were going to courts against Ghani to stop the investigation into corruption.

Habibuddin Junadi said there was a need for bringing transparency in all departments of the provincial government.

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Daily Times

Judicial commission should probe corruption in SESSI, SWWB

By: Staff Report

14-Dec-16

KARACHI: Central leaders of trade unions, federations and the labor supporting organizations demanded the Sindh government on Tuesday to constitute a high-powered judicial commission to probe into corruption, mismanagement and malpractices in the provincial labor department and its affiliated bodies and also take action against the responsible concerned officers.

Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club, the labor leaders decried that the labor institutions like Sindh Employees’ Social Security Institution (SESSI) and Sindh Workers Welfare Board (SWWB) are infected with wide-spread corruption and a group of bureaucrats have created a cartel to swindle the funds available for the welfare of workers. Whenever the government starts taking action against them, they start creating hurdles.

"We support the measures taken by Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister for Labor Senator Saeed Ghani for improvement of the functioning of provincial labor organizations and demand the government to immediately form a judicial commission to fix responsibilities so that severe action can be taken against the corrupt officers," said Karamat Ali, Secretary of NLC.

Since Senator Saeed Ghani has been appointed as Labor Advisor, there were visible signs of improvement in the performance of SESSI-run hospitals and other institutions, but the powerful group of bureaucrats in the department has tried hard to stop Saeed Ghani from his actions for betterment.

The Sindh Labor department has got vacated 1,000 flats in Labour Square in Gulshan-e-Maymar and there was visible savings in medical expenses in the SESSI health facilities at SITE and Landhi. That has become possible due to personal interest taken by Senator Saeed Ghani in controlling corruption in Labor department.

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DAWN

Call for probe into activities of SESSI, SWWB

Saher Baloch — Published Dec 14, 2016 06:48am

JPEG -
Piler executive director Karamat Ali and other trade union leaders at the press conference.— Photo by writer

KARACHI: Labour organisations have demanded the establishment of a judicial commission to probe activities of labour institutions such as the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution (SESSI) and the Sindh Works Welfare Board (SWWB).

Executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler) Karamat Ali presented this demand at a press conference held at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, where a bevy of trade union leaders and a few journalists were present.

The main focus of the press conference remained the recent induction of Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Saeed Ghani as an adviser to the chief minister of Sindh on labour issues and the recent ‘efforts’ he made to introduce a culture of accountability within the departments.

Speaking about the senator’s recent efforts, Karamat Ali said: “We want to bring to the attention of the senator the continuing corruption within the two labour institutions (SESSI and SWWB). It has come to our notice that these institutions are using every tactic possible to keep a few people in power.”

He said that keeping a particular group of people in power helped them in alleged “misappropriating of funds”.

President of the Sindh Labour Federation Shafiq Ghauri spoke on the point of misappropriation of funds by reminding everyone of a raid by authorities at the Kulsumbai Valika Social Security Hospital, SITE, in March this year.

“The raid was conducted following reports earlier in 2015 of corruption within the hospital mostly in cases related to buying and selling of fake medicines. According to figures, the hospital is involved in the misappropriation of huge among of funds,” he added.

Sharing another instance, he said that in July this year, in a letter to the director general of the commercial audit Sindh, he informed him that vouchers of monetary records of hospitals that come under SESSI were missing. And, that the authorities concerned had not held an audit at the SESSI.

At the same time, Mr Ghauri added that the labour organisations had facts and figures to substantiate their arguments and allegations which they would provide if needed by the authorities. “The allegations that we are making, are also part of the internal audit report of the KV SITE Social Security Hospital, carried by an independent officer. The officer also made a similar observation that vouchers for 21 crores, 45 lakh, 34 thousand and 34 rupees is not available,” he added.

Trade union leader Habib ud Din Junaidi said: “The PPP would get their votes from labourers and working class. So, it is only appropriate to remind them of the corruption, which is prevalent in departments which represent them.”

Farhat Parveen, representing NOW communities, said that soon, legislation would be done to get domestic workers under the social security net. “But for that to happen, we’ll have to get the labour department in order,” she added.

P.S.

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