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The Killid Group, May 21, 2015

60 percent Afghan workers jobless

The average monthly wage is a paltry 5,000 Afs (83 USD), which is way below sustenance levels

By Malahat

Sixty percent of Afghan workers are jobless, and those who are employed rarely have the assurance of regular working hours in a safe environment.

Maroof Qaderi, the head of the Labour Union of Afghanistan says ILO (International Labour Organisation) and CSO (Central Statistic Office) figures show 12 million people qualify as workers in the country. There are labour laws but most people are unaware of their rights. The average monthly wage is a paltry 5,000 Afs (83 USD), which is way below sustenance levels.

Afghan labor workers wait for customers in Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan labor workers wait for customers in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April, 19, 2015. (Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP)

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has new figures that show 7 million people need to find full-time work - 2.5 million have no work at all. Political uncertainty has crippled the economy. Hopes of a revival pinned to the installation of a new president have been dashed by differences between the leaders of the national unity government. Yet, 500 work permits were issued to women last year, says Ali Eftekhari, the spokesperson in the labour ministry.

Maryam Yusufi headed a handicraft company that was launched in 2005 without either government or non-governmental assistance. More than 400 women were employed in the tailoring unit alone. The economic slowdown that began last year has hit her business hard. "Eventually our biggest tailoring project that some 400 women were working in closed and the women could not find other work," she sighs.

Yusufi says she wrote to many non-governmental organisations for help, but nothing is forthcoming.

According to Eftekhari, the ministry has short- and long-term plans for the assistance of labour. The government has contacted countries that need migrant labour, to enter into agreements. Possible partners are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This is an example of a short-term solution to the gigantic problem of joblessness.

A long-term solution would be to strengthen the economy, and increase capacity. The National Labour Union was established in year 1964 for the purpose of building capacities of Afghan labour, and of government officials regarding the law, rights and the troubling issue of child labour. Qaderi says safety is not of concern, and 114 miners lost their lives last year.

Discriminated women

Sixty percent of Afghan workers are jobless, and those who are employed rarely have the assurance of regular working hours in a safe environment.
...
The average monthly wage is a paltry 5,000 Afs, which is way below sustenance levels.
The Killid Group, May 18, 2015

Women are discriminated against in this patriarchal society. Habiba Fakhri, president of the Women in National Labour Union explains that less attention is paid to women in the private sector where there is even more exploitation. Women are denied the right to maternity leave.

Women staff in government offices face sexual violence. "Many women have skills for higher jobs than they hold. But due to considerations like family duties, they are unwilling to take on more senior positions," Fakhri says. The union has been raising awareness about the legal rights of working women in the country. As examples, she points out the law that gives lactating mother's the right to half an hour's break every three hours to breastfeed or the rule that prohibits pregnant women from being assigned the duty of carrying heavy loads. "Women tend not to take maternity leave out of fear that they would lose their jobs," she says.

Husain Ali Moaeen, the head of Department of Coordination of Economic Development in the Ministry of Women's Affairs says the government is trying to increase the number of female employees in coordination with the ministries of labour, agriculture and commerce. Some 1,000 women graduate from vocational schools and join the jobs' market every year.

A programme for the support of women entrepreneurs will be unveiled by the UN Development Fund (UNDP). "Our next plan would be to set up fairs and exhibitions where women can showcase their products and skills," says Moaeen.

Originally published on May 18, 2015

Category: HR Violations, Poverty - Views: 3520