Pakistani Trade Unions join forces for solidarity and cooperation

A 2-Day Experience Sharing Workshop: Strengthening Trade Union Strategy and Identifying New Priorities for Trade Unions’ Cooperation held on 15-16 June 2022 at ILO Office for Pakistan, Islamabad. H.E. Mr Andreas Ferrarese, Ambassador to Pakistan Embassy of Italy was the chief guest at the closing ceremony.


ISLAMABAD: Trade Union leaders from across Pakistan deliberated on the need for developing new strategies to achieve inclusive development, organisation of informal economy, regularisation of employment, occupational safety and health, universal social protection for all and gender equality. There was consensus that these strategies will help accelerate achieving the goals set out under SDGs and UNSDCF.

Participants of the workshop discussed existing gaps and opportunities while setting out priorities for the future at a two-day workshop organised under the International Labour Organization (ILO) implemented project on “Promotion of Decent Work Opportunities for the Economic Empowerment of Vulnerable Segments of Society”, funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, jointly with the Italian Trade Union Institute for Development Cooperation (ISCOS). Around 45 workers representatives participated at the workshop bringing in diverse experience and learnings from across provinces.

Dr Farah Masood, Managing Director, Overseas Employment Corporation, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, drew attention to the need for leveraging partnerships and networking beyond boundaries to push the Decent Work Agenda. In doing so, engaging the Pakistani diaspora across the world is an appreciable effort by the ILO project, she added.

Mr Mahandra G. Naidoo, Officer-In-Charge, ILO, reminded the participants that the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work (2019) calls for a human-centred approach, putting workers’ rights, needs and aspirations at the heart of economic, social and environment policies. And the role of workers’ organizations, utilizing social dialogue is therefore the surest effective mechanism in achieving these aspirations. He congratulated the participants in charting out clear priorities for the future and extended ILO’s technical support in achieving them.

Ch Muhammad Yaseen, General Secretary, Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF) appreciated the ILO on organizing the event that brought together TU leaders representing different tiers from around the country which will further strengthen the coordination among TUs. Availing this opportunity, PWF will convene, coordinate and support efforts to address the challenges faced by other TUs. He further shared that under the ILO project, PWF imparted Rights Education to brick kiln workers and facilitated the process of bridging workers with National Database and Registration Authority which not only helped the workers acquire a legal status as a citizen but also in seeking various social protection benefits. Going forward, PWF together with ILO will support the piloting of the model brick kiln that shall improve the work environment, workers health and increase business competitiveness.

Syed Nazar Ali, Secretary-General, Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) appreciated the achievements of the ILO project and committed to supporting in building capacity of Brick Kiln Owners’ Association of Pakistan as it would be instrumental to address the challenges faced by this sector on social compliance and improve business development perspective.

Ms Emanuela Benini, Director, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) Office for Pakistan & Afghanistan, said that “the Italian Cooperation & ILO have endeavoured towards the elimination of Child Labour worldwide. In Pakistan, thanks to this project, we do believe that by spreading the Project’s scope, the full respect of Decent Work which entails i.a. the elimination of Child and other forms of Forced Labour, as embedded in the SDGs 8 of the 2030 Agenda will find its way, will demonstrate that workers’ wellbeing guarantees quality production and thus higher incomes”.

H.E. Mr Andreas Ferrarese, Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, remarked that the importance of the right to decent work is at the core of the Constitution of the Italian Republic and the Republic promotes those conditions which render this right effective. He acknowledged that decent work is key to social justice and lauded the struggle of TUs in Pakistan in furthering the efforts for achieving decent work. Pakistan and Italy are linked by strong economic and social relations. The Italian economy also benefits from the contribution of the Pakistani diaspora in Italy, which further strengthens the bonds between the two countries and pronounces the need for cooperation and mutual development towards Agenda 2030, the Ambassador added.

ILO specialists from Decent Work Team in New Delhi, ILO-Geneva along with International Trade Union Confederation joined virtually and shared their valuable insights to regional and global advancements. Representatives of UN agencies and development partners also attended the closing ceremony.

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