The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in collaboration with the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), is setting up the ILO-ILS Textile Programme, with an aim to improve the application of labour laws in Pakistan and ensure continuity of the country’s exports to the global market.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed between the two bodies this month.
PTEA Chairman and Vice Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood said the programme has been designed in a way to further the agenda of ILO in Pakistan.
He added that the primary purpose is to improve adherence to national laws and international labour standards in Pakistani textile factories and develop buyers’ confidence that standards in these factories are being publicly monitored. In addition, the programme will also help establish an effective coordination mechanism between textile industries, related workers’ organisations and labour departments on ILS compliance and reporting.
He said that the government is working on improving its textile industries’ competitiveness in the global market.
However, maintaining this GSP-Plus status, which Pakistan was granted at the start of this year, depends on how well the government implements and reports on the country’s application of 27 UN Conventions including eight ILO fundamental conventions.
Pakistan has ratified 34 ILO Conventions (out of 189) including all eight fundamental conventions on Forced and Child Labour, Discrimination and Freedom of Association but in recent past, the textile industry has seen some setbacks in its international exports due to lack of compliance with labour laws.
According to Mahmood, the global image of Pakistan in terms of labour law compliance is not positive, which hurts the confidence of international buyers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2014.