International labour standards in Pakistan

The opening session of 104th International Labour Conference. © ILO
The Government of Pakistan has ratified 36 ILO Conventions, including 8 fundamental conventions, as of now. In the South Asian sub-region, Pakistan is the second country that has ratified all eight fundamental conventions as enshrined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The ILO works in close collaboration with its tripartite constituents towards achieving Pakistan’s decent work objectives. 

In 2008, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, in his first address to the National Assembly, declared to bring national labour laws in conformity with the ILO Conventions. Further, the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, substantially changed the roles and responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments including the devolution of labour administration to the provinces. At the federal level, responsibility of reporting to the ILO on Pakistan’s progress on application of international labour standards now rests with the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

Application of international labour standards is critical for Pakistan because of its GSP Plus status. This entails regular monitoring and meeting reporting requirements imposed by each convention with reference to GSP Plus. 

The DWCP (2016 -22) focuses on strengthening compliance with international labour standards through more effective social dialogue among the ILO constituents.

The key strategies include:
  • strengthening capacity of social partners to promote application of ratified conventions and to advocate for ratification of new conventions,
  • strengthening capacity of the judiciary and other law enforcement institutions in line with the principles of international labour standards and human rights,
  • reforming labour legislations that are not compatible to the provisions of international labour standards, strengthening of labour administration and inspection system.

Key resources

  1. Rules of the Game: a brief introduction to International Labour Standards (Revised edition 2014)

    Aimed at a non-specialist audience, this revised publication provides an introduction to international labour standards and discusses their importance in today’s global economy, the subjects they cover, how they are applied and supervised, and where further information can be sought.

  2. ILOLEX - database of International Labour Standards and recommendations (including ratification information)

    Full-text database of ILO conventions and recommendations, ratification information, comments of the Committee of Experts and the Committee on Freedom of Association, discussions of the Conference Committee, representations, complaints, General Surveys, and numerous related documents.

  3. Ratifications of Fundamental Conventions in Asia and the Pacific