No rights, pay, or even shoes. Pakistani leather workers deprived of everything

The average salary is the equivalent of 119 Euros per month. However, to live in decent conditions, it would take at least 278 euros per month. In the majority of the case, workers are hired by subcontract labour companies. The contracts bind remuneration to production quotas. Most of the time, this quota is so high that employees often fail to respect them. Moreover, the employer is also the only ‘body’ to whom request a loan in case of financial emergencies which means that workers end up indebting themselves with their patron. Poor rights and economic conditions are just some of the issues raised by “The Leather Men of Pakistan”, an inquiry conducted by Oxfam with non-profit organisations and Somo Newcommunities about working conditions within the leather sector in the districts of Sialkot, Karachi and Lahore. Tanneries in the Asian country, which often include such companies for the packaging of clothing products and accessories, do not meet health and safety standards. A third of the machines for the shaving of the leather would not be safe as workers do not wear with the right equipment: anti-accident shoes, gloves and masks. The result is numerous cases of skin infections, respiratory illnesses and accidents that threaten the physical integrity of the workers. Photo Asim Rafaqui | NOOR. Meanwhile, from Pakistan arrives an appeal for cooperation. Shahid Rasheed Butt, director of the Chamber of Traders Little Islamabad, suggested that countries participating in the South Asian Association for Cooperation (SAARC, comprising Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) should not compete in the leather industry but cooperate. “Rich as they are raw material, all together, – he said – they would represent a global hub of tanning by 1 trillion dollars a year. (Taken from https://www.somo.nl/the-leathermen-of-pakistan site).

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