PESHAWAR: The KP government has set a minimum wage, but the majority of sectors pay their workers much less than the amount. Among the low-paid workers are the guards of private security companies who earn wages well below the minimum wage set by the government.
An employee of the private security company, Jehanzeb, told this scribe that he was paid a monthly salary of 12,000 rupees.
He was not getting his salary on time, even though he was underpaid. “My employer withheld my one month’s salary, but even worse, I am not receiving a fixed date salary,” he added. He said security guards at most companies performed duties for around 12 hours a day.
Jehanzeb said he had to support his family and the family of his crippled brother with his meager salary. These workers are not paid when they get sick and cannot go to work.
Jehanzeb said he had dengue fever and was unable to go to work for two months.
“I swapped my cell phone with our local grocery store to get food for my family,” he said. Rickshaw driver Israr Khan, 35, said he had a bachelor’s degree in science and had taught at a private school for more than 10 years.
However, he said he quit his job because he was earning 14,000 rupees. Israr Khan said the school administration would not pay him his full salary during the summer vacation.
He said he quit his job six months ago and bought an auto rickshaw with money borrowed from friends and relatives to make ends meet.
âUnfortunately I still have a hard time,â he said, adding that initially he would earn around Rs 1,500 per day, but with the CNG crisis his income fell below Rs 1,000. per day.
He said the government set the minimum wage for eight hours of work in 26 days a month.
However, he added, workers were performing tasks more hours per day.
Israr Khan said the government lacks the mechanism and the will to ensure that workers receive fixed wages from the government. He said the government had recently increased the minimum wage from Rs 17,500 to Rs 21,000, but workers’ wages had not yet reached Rs 17,500, let alone Rs 21,000.