At a glanceThrough the LSGSC project, the ILO’s Pakistan Country Office (CO-Islamabad) deepened engagement with its tripartite constituents, the Government, Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF) and the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and other key stakeholders to improve labour market governance and working conditions in textiles and garment supply chains in Pakistan.
ContextIn Pakistan, the garment industry accounts for 46 per cent of total manufacturing, provides employment to approximately 6.7 per cent of the country’s labor force, and contributes 8.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). At the same time, the garment sector in Pakistan is characterised by persistent decent work deficits, including poor working conditions, and low wages. The raw gender pay gap in the garment sector in Pakistan is approximately 57.3 per cent.
In 2010, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan devolved implementation of labour regulations to the provincial level, placing significant responsibilities on Pakistan’s provincial governments. In this context, the LSGSC project in Pakistan maintained a particular geographic emphasis on Sindh province, which is an important centre of garment production in the country.
In Pakistan, the primary objectives of the LSGSC project during its third and final phase were to strengthen:
- Capacity of the tripartite stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based wage policy.
- Capacity of the tripartite stakeholders to conduct effective collective bargaining.
- Linkages between stakeholders within the garment sector.
The key partners for the LSGSC project in Pakistan were the Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development (MoOPHRD), Pakistan’s provincial departments of labour, the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP), the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), and sectoral industry associations. The immediate beneficiaries for the LSGSC project in Pakistan were Employers’ and Workers’ organizations, garment manufacturing enterprises, and federal and provincial government authorities. The project’s ultimate beneficiaries in Pakistan were women and men workers in the garment sector.
In pursuit of its objectives in Pakistan, amongst others, LSGSC:
- Published several country-level research studies in Pakistan on minimum wage setting mechanisms in the formal and informal garment sector, wage and employment trends, gender pay gaps, home-based workers, and mechanisms to resolve pay and other disputes. Following up on this research, LSGSC conducted a programme of capacity building and technical assistance for Pakistan’s provincial minimum wage boards and other relevant stakeholders on participatory and evidence-based minimum wage setting.
- Disseminated research to provincial government officials in Pakistan that informed several important legal and regulatory reforms on minimum wages. For example, as a result of LSGSC’s assistance, in 2018 the Sindh Minimum Wages Board took into account evidence-based criteria for minimum wage adjustment, resulting in a higher increase in the provincial minimum wage than the federal level, and adopted a more participatory tripartite composition, with increased membership of workers’ and employers’ representatives.
- Supported the creation of a new interprovincial knowledge sharing platform comprising of provincial minimum wage boards and organized the first three meetings of the platform, which took place during 2018 in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.
- Provided technical inputs that informed the implementation rules for several labour laws in Sindh province related to wage payment procedures, provisions on equal pay for equal work and related areas.
- Contributed significantly to the extension of minimum wage coverage to home-based workers as well as workers in the largely informal glass bangle industry in the lower tiers of garment sector global supply chains in Sindh province through the Home-Based Workers Act enacted in 2018.
- Published a research study on ‘Good practices in collective bargaining: A compilation of case studies from Pakistan’.
- Delivered collective bargaining capacity building programmes in which more than 80 trade union officials participated. This included negotiation and bargaining workshops for both tripartite and bipartite participants in collaboration with the International Training Centre in Turin (ILO-ITC).
- Supported two key stakeholder forums: The Garment Sector Stakeholders’ Forum (GSSF) and the Pakistan Buyers’ Forum (PBF):
o The Garment Sector Stakeholders’ Forum (GSSF) strengthens linkages between key stakeholders in the garment sector, and provides opportunities for information and best practice sharing, as well as for stakeholder consultation.
o The Pakistan Buyers’ Forum (PBF) is convened jointly by the ILO, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Dutch Embassy in Pakistan and the IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative. LSGSC acted as secretariat to the Forum. The PBF offers a platform of dialogue, knowledge-sharing and cooperation to sector stakeholders, such as brands and retailers, government authorities, industry associations, and technical agencies. Through discussion on buyer codes of conduct, national law, and International Labour Standards, as well as good governance and international best practices and their implementation in Pakistan, the PBF contributes to achieving sustainable growth of the sector, improving competitiveness and compliance with international standards.