Areas of work

Foundry, Lahore. © ILO

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Promoting decent work is a shared responsibility of the ILO and its constituents which includes the Government, employers, workers and other stakeholders.

The last DWCP (2010-15) was based on the following four priorities:
- Labour law reform;
- Employment generation through human resource development, with a focus on employable skills;
- Social protection expansion, including in the informal economy; and
- Tripartism and social dialogue promotion.

The Country Program Review of the DWCP (2010-15) provided strategic recommendations for preparation of DWCP 2016-2020.[1]

The challenges and constraints faced during the implementation of the DWCP (2010 -15) were fully reviewed.

During the tripartite priority setting workshop in September 2015, the ILO constituents identified the following key priority areas for the DWCP (2016-20).

Promoting Decent Work in the Rural Economy

The social partners suggested that promotion of Decent Work in the Rural Economy requires more and immediate attention, and that labour departments do not have adequate capacity to enforce labour legislation in the rural economy. In some Provinces, agricultural workers have now been included in the labour legislation and its application would require strong support. In general, the social partners were of the views that working conditions of the rural workers including handicraft, fishery and home-based workers need to be improved.

Promoting job creation for youth and vulnerable groups

Pakistan’s demography has a youth bulge, as more than 50 per cent of Pakistan’s 218 million population falls in the age group between 15 and 29 years. The DWCP (2016-20) must address the issue of job creation and youth employment to be combined with Decent Work in the rural economy. Youth employment requires immediate attention with the support of multiple stakeholders. An inter-ministerial coordination mechanism would help to ensure employable skills training programs for youth as well as women. Such skills training programs must enable the youth to find employment in both urban and rural economies.

Strengthening compliance with International Labour Standards (ILS) through Social Dialogue

The ILO social partners see the importance of “Strong Employers and Workers Organizations” to strengthen social dialogue in Pakistan, which is expected to facilitate the dialogue concerning improved compliance with national laws and ILS. It has been reported that in Pakistan union density is relatively low and therefore increased efforts are required to help workers organize in both the formal and the informal economy. Institutional and technical capacity of the workers’ organizations needs to be enhanced in order to facilitate harmonious industrial relations and to increase awareness about workers’ rights. Similarly, technical capacity of employers’ organizations needs to be strengthened at the provincial level to provide meaningful leadership in promoting decent work. Promoting workplace compliance through labour inspection has been identified as a priority for the DWCP (2016-20). A weak labour inspection is one of the core reasons for limited enforcement of labour legislation and the ILO constituents recommend tripartite coordination and collaboration to strengthen workplace compliance.

Extending social protection floors

The ILO constituents see the dire need of extending social protection floors throughout the country. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), one of the provinces of the country, has a labour force of 7 million out of which only 66,000 workers have social security coverage. Improved coordination amongst the three on-going social protection programs namely the Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), the Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI), and at provincial level the Employees Social Security Institution (ESSI) is seen as desirable action, and so is the coordination between the federal and provincial level in streamlining social protection schemes. In the recent initiative by Federal Government under EHSAAS Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection framework, such coordination deficits are likely to be addressed. ILO is providing technical support to this end.

[1] The Pakistan DWCP, 2016-2020, has been extended to 2022 in order to align with the current UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, 2018-2022.