FAISALABAD: The Better Work Programme (BWP) will help improve Pakistan’s compliance and exhibit its commitment to improve labour welfare, said International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director Ingrid Christensen.
Addressing a consultative session at the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) on Thursday, she said that the BWP was successfully being run by ILO and IFC in eight countries benefiting a workforce of 2.5 million as 1,700 factories and 150 international brands are linked with this programme.
She informed the audience that the programme included a comprehensive framework on improving industrial relations through training and compliance with international labour standards including occupational safety and health, nature of employment, discrimination and other forms of labour practices as well as strengthening employers’ and workers’ organisation in textile industry.
Emphasising the importance of ratifying and implementing international labour standards for the business community, she elaborated the situation of working conditions in terms of employment, child labour, informality of work and wages.
Also speaking on occasion, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Joint Secretary Atika Riffat highlighted the recent interventions carried out by the federal and provincial governments to improve working conditions in the country. She elaborated various ILO conventions, which were ratified. Riffat identified a number of avenues where the textile industries in Pakistan in collaboration with ILO, could bring improvements in the work practices thus enabling more exports to Europe.
PTEA official Khurram Mukhtar appreciated the concerted efforts of the government to pave the way for enhanced sourcing of Pakistani products by leading international buyers by initiating ILO’s Better Work Program in Pakistan.
Foreign trade has a lot of attached responsibilities as international buyers are getting increasingly sensitive about ethical sourcing and international compliances.
BWP should aim to improve working conditions in textile industry and make the sector more competitive by enabling collaboration between government, global brands, factory owners and workers, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2019.