Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 22nd, 2018

The Rights of Working Class

Labor law arose in parallel with the Industrial Revolution as the relationship between worker and employer changed from small-scale production studios to large-scale factories. Workers sought better conditions and the right to join a labor union while employers sought a more flexible and less costly workforce. The state of labor law at any one time is therefore both the product of, and a component of struggles between various social forces.
Labor rights are a relatively new addition to the modern corpus of human rights. The modern concept of labor rights dates to the 19th century after the creation of labor unions following the industrialization processes. Karl Marx stands out as one of the earliest and most prominent advocates for workers rights. His philosophy and economic theory focused on labor issues and advocates his economic system of socialism, a society which would be ruled by the workers. Many of the social movements for the rights of the workers were associated with groups influenced by Marx such as the socialist. More recent workers’ rights advocacy has focused on the particular role, exploitation, needs of women workers and etc.
Working conditions should be protected by well-enforced rules – rules that guarantee workers the right to organize, to have limits on their work day, to be paid a minimum wage, to enjoy social security and more. Workers have enjoyed these guarantees in the rich countries for nearly a century, but recently governments have been weakening the rules in the name of “global competition.” Meanwhile, in spite of many conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), workers in poor countries have few rights or protections, and some endure terrible working conditions. Financial crises in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America have only made matters worse. The following materials look at these issues and the growing international movement to strengthen workers’ rights – an essential part of the movement towards global citizenship.
Historically, workers, mainly women and children, suffered severely in factories. They were busy with manual labors and backbreaking works for long hours, however, paid low wage in return. The employers and factory-owners exploited them on a large scale without anyone to voice their concerns in this regard. In a nutshell, workers were no more than a salve, sweating over physical works and being treated with disdain.
Following the social movements and campaigns in favor of workers, labor rights were debated hotly which led to the establishment of labor laws at national and international levels. Labor laws are based on protecting the rights and dignity of workers and to ensure social justice around the globe. One of the focused issues in labor laws is the right to equal treatment, irrespective of sex, race, religion, color and social or political status. Discrimination against the workers on the basis of the mentioned facts is not acceptable at all and the gender gap is supposed to be bridged across the globe.
Moreover, ensuring social justice is one of the reasons behind supporting workers’ rights. Justice is a universal principle, which has been a cultural and religious ambition in human society, throughout the history, to cultivate a just and human relation between worker and employer and strengthen law and order in the society.
Hence, on the surface, the labor rights were established to protect the rights of the working class, but extended to save the employers’ rights as well. Moreover, labor law is binding – i.e. the worker and employer cannot sign a contract against it such as working long hours without being paid extra wage. The labor law has a social and economic concept which deals with the society’s law and order rather than ruling over a personal relation.
Labor rights advocates have worked to improve workplace conditions which meet established standards as mentioned above. For instance, the workplace should be neither very hot nor very cold so as not to imperil the laborers’ health. 
Labor rights advocates have also worked to combat child labor. They see child labor as exploitative, cruel, and often economically damaging. Child labor opponents often argue that working children are deprived of an education. In 1948 and then again in 1989, the United Nations declared that children have a right to social protection. In many manual labors, employing underage children is not allowed.
Moreover, labor rights advocates sought to voice their concerns about forced labors – which are still rife in many poor countries, including Afghanistan. Poverty forces many families to send their underage children to work. Currently, a large number of children labor in factories from dawn to dusk under tense pressure as the bread-winners of their families.

The rights of working class are also protected by Afghanistan’s law based on international standards. All the aforementioned issues such as discrimination against the workers on the basis of their race, sex and color, forced labors and employing underage children in manual labors are banned in our law. And workers should have all the priorities such as enjoying public holidays, the right to free choice and not working overtime without extra payment. Afghanistan’s Constitution states in article 48 as” Work is the right of every Afghan. Working hours, paid holidays, employment and employee rights and related matters shall be regulated by the law. Choice of occupation and craft shall be free within the bounds of law.” Article 49 says, “Forced labor shall be forbidden…. Forced labor on children shall not be allowed.” So, it is hoped that the rights of workers will be observed on the basis of national and international laws around the globe, mainly in poor countries including Afghanistan – where workers sweat over backbreaking labors without having their rights protected practically.