Daily wagers grumble about growing unemployment

KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of daily wagers in the capital Kabul complain about a sharp decline in daily work, urging the government and the international community to sort out the issue as soon as possible.
Complaints of increasing joblessness from daily wagers come as the world marks Labour Day.
Such workers gather daily in different parts of Kabul in search of jobs. Taimani is one of the neighbourhoods in the 4th police district where daily wagers assemble in quest of work.
Mohammad Ewaz, who was in Taimani to find work, told this Pajhwok Afghan News reporter: “When I saw you, I thought you needed a worker. But you are a journalist. We have been interviewed several times but no one heeds stories of our poverty and economic vulnerability.”
Concerned about unemployment, he said: “I have been unable to find work over the past 10 days. I stay here from dawn to dusk to find a job but I return home empty-handed every evening.”
Ewaz added: “Most of the daily wagers have no work. Potential employers come here and pay a worker only 150-200 afghanis a day. Desperate as we are, we accept the offer.”
According to him, last year, they could find work three-four days a week. Every worker would receive 400 to 600afs, but the daily wage has now slumped 200-350afs.
A Pajhwok report, compiled last year, says labourers could not find work for more than three days a week. The findings showed the average wage of masons and labourers had fallen by 30 percent in Kabul
They said their daily wage was 150-350afs.
Mohammad Asif Hashimi, a retired government servant, also approached the area to find work. Having not received his pension for the past two years, he has to meet his needs through daily wages.
He said: “I’m the only supporter of a family of 13. Several people come here in search of work. But finding work even for one day has become very difficult and I earn negligible wages.”
Addressing the authorities, Hashimi said: “It’s your responsibility to provide work to the people. We need sustainable work to find a solution to persistent poverty.”
Haji Yaqub Square, another place where daily wagers gather in the search of work.
Mohammad Nasir Sharifi, one of the workers, said unemployment had reached its peak. “After Eid-ul-Fitr, I have been able to find work only once and earned 300afs. It is very difficult to find work even for a day or two. The reason is lack of work and an increase in the number of jobless people.”
He congratulated all workers on Labour Day, urging the government and the global fraternity to generate jon opportunities in the country.
Earning 300afs in the last 10 days, Sharifi asked how he could meet his needs. “Allah is the sustainer. It is true life and death is in Allah’s hands, but my life is full of suffering. I have to contend with problems of life with great difficulty.”
Azmuddin, a painter, said: “I found work for only one day in the entire holy month of Ramadan and earned 500afs. But after Eid-ul-Fitr, I have found no work. My children need food and the house owner demand rent. I don’t know how to manage all this.”
Last year, he found work for three-four days and earned up to 1,200afs daily.
Last year, some laborers said the daily wage was 400-800afs.
Economic expert Qais Mohammadi said in the past two years, Afghanistan’s economy had stagnated on the one hand and the socio-political situation destabilised on the other. This caused the unemployment rate to increase in the country.
He said: “It is the responsibility of every government to reduce unemployment and poverty, increase its development budget, create plans for economic development and execute new projects. The private sector should also provide job opportunities.”
He added the caretaker government and the international community must pay special attention to the workers of Afghanistan, find basic solutions to their problems and create jobs for them.
Dr. Liaqat Adel, head of the International Association of Food and Workers of Afghanistan, acknowledged labourers were in a difficult situation.
Adel identified inadequate wages, hard labour by children and violations of worker rights as the main problems being faced by labourers.
He has shared the issue with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, but no practical work has been done yet to address the situation.
Last year, the caretaker government said it was working on short- and medium-term plans to alleviate joblessness and frame a national employment policy.