ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday announced increasing minimum wages of labours from Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 and promised resolving all the problems faced by the workers, saying it is the top priority of the government.But one of his main rivals Punjab Chief Minister went a step further and announced an Rs 2,000 pay raise, while addressing a ceremony in Lahore during which he and PML-N President Nawaz Sharif distributed around apartment keys among 1,296 workers.Given the unprecedented inflation and poor record of implementing the promises made by the government, it seems that these announcements will be another addition to the long list of ‘failed attempts’ to deliver.Addressing a ceremony to mark the Labour Day in the federal capital, Gilani also announced to regularise the services of the CDA and PTCL employees. Furthermore, the pension from the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) has been increased to Rs 2,000 from Rs 1,500.The prime minister said the 1st of May was observed globally to pay tribute to the workers and labourers of Chicago for the sacrifices they rendered for attainment of their rights.He said the concept of agricultural, industrial and socio-economic development was incomplete without contribution of labourers, workers and farmers. “The global strides in industry and agriculture are owed to the hard work of labourers and farmers,” he added. Gilani said the PPP was fully aware of the role of farmers, labourers and workers in the national development and had been strenuously engaged in efforts to bring about a positive change in their lives.The premier said the PPP pioneer Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto considered the workers as an invaluable asset of the party. “The PPP was established on the slogan of welfare of the neglected sections of society and for the sake of carving out a respectable place for them in the social setup.”“We believe that the secret of any country’s development lies in the value of hard work and its human resources. A society, which does not address the basic needs of its working class, remains backward,” he added.And in Lahore, Shahbaz Sharif announced to increase minimum monthly wages of the workers in Punjab from Rs 7000 to Rs 9000. Congratulating the labourers on getting residential flats, the chief minister said that project of labour colony was an important step towards the journey, started by the party chief, Nawaz Sharif, in 1985 for the welfare of the labourers.He said the workers struggled and earned money for the country’s prosperity through their hard work, but it was lamentable that the corrupt rulers sitting in Islamabad had no concern with the welfare of the builders of the country. “Their main aim is to plunder the national wealth and fill their pockets, but the time has come to recover the looted money from the corrupt rulers and get rid of them,” he added.He said step motherly attitude was being meted out to Punjab in the power crisis and a loss of Rs 300 billion had been caused to the province’s economy in a year.Shahbaz said the federal government did not provide welfare funds to the province under 18th Amendment and had usurped the right of the provinces, but the rulers would be held accountable for the deed.He said the anti-labour federal government did not provide electricity to the colony only for the reason that the PML-N government had launched the project for the working class.He warned to raise the issue jointly with the labourers against the Pepco and Lesco, if electricity supply was not ensured within few days.Earlier, Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the labour colony.