Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Feudals and wages

Sir: The ruling party has again raised the minimum wage by another thousand rupees. Workers, particularly those who are fortunate enough to work in cities, will theoretically get Rs 7,000 a month. So far, so good. But will this happen all around? Not if you consider what happened the last time they raised the minimum salary. All the landlords I know insisted that this minimum wage policy was not applicable to their workers (who were being paid about Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 a month). In fact, even the supervisors in their fields earned only Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 last year.

Most people in Karachi, however, followed the rule, although I did notice some violations by shop-owners. As for myself, the very next day, my peon and housemaid (both of whom were drawing Rs 4,000 at the time) instantly demanded to be paid the new minimum wage. This time of course the same scenario will be repeated. But I wonder how much feudals will now pay to the peasants who till their fields. Knowing these people, I bet their slaves are not paid anything at all. Maybe they are given enough food for two meals a day. I do not think they get more than that. Someone in the media should investigate and inform us how much our ‘worker-friendly’ politicians pay their employees.

Daily Times, May 04, 2010