In an inspiring display of solidarity and determination, Lady Health Workers (LHWs) in Pakistan joined hands with other care workers to march through the streets on May Day, advocating for improved wages, safety, and respect in their professions. This significant mobilization is part of an ongoing effort by these frontline health providers, who have been instrumental in delivering primary care services to underserved populations since the establishment of the Lady Health Worker Program in 1994.

With the support of UNI Care, the global union that champions the rights of care workers, LHWs have been receiving specialized training in union organizing and leadership. This initiative, which engaged Lady Health Workers from Faisalabad and Karachi in December 2023, aims to empower LHWs to expand their unions, build collective power, and effectively campaign for better working conditions and pay.

The LHWs, who often operate from converted areas of their own homes, are pivotal in managing a wide array of health services, from maternal and child health care to participating in large-scale health campaigns and providing community education on serious health threats like TB and HIV/AIDS. Despite the crucial nature of their work, many LHWs are grossly underpaid, earning as little as $6 per month, and face restrictions on other employment.

“The determination of these workers to transform their roles and enhance community health outcomes through collective bargaining and union power is palpable. After the UNI Care training,” said Suriya Waseer, President of the Lady Health Workers Union in Faisalabad. “Lady Health Workers play a critical role in delivering healthcare services. If we are demoralized, it negatively impacts the delivery of public health services. Thats why LHWU together with the ALPU and UNI Care is committed to building the collective power of Lady Health Workers, and improving our skills to advocate for our rights and engage in negotiation with employers or the government to address the issues and ensure fair compensation.”

As they continue to organize and push for necessary reforms, the Lady Health Workers of Pakistan serve not only as a beacon of hope for their communities but also as a vivid example of the power of organized labor in the global fight for fair labor practices and equity in the workplace. UNI Global Union remains committed to supporting these courageous workers in their quest for justice and better working conditions.