Tripartite plus sessions to promote social dialogue on socially responsible labour practices

The Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) through the support of the ILO organized dialogues between employers and other stakeholders such as government, workers, members of civil society and international brands representing Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) to promote socially responsible labour practices. The dialogues gathered inputs to the taskforce established to promote a sustainable and continued elimination of child labour and forced labour in the supply chain of sports goods industry.

Press release | Islamabad, Pakistan | 08 February 2021
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): The ILO through its project "More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in Pakistan" (MNED project) supported the EFP in organizing dialogues between employers and other stakeholders from the sports goods industry to promote socially responsible labour practices in the Industry. The sessions were held in Sialkot and Lahore on 16 October 2020 and 09 November 2020 respectively.

A focus group discussion yielded specific inputs for the development of an action plan by the tripartite taskforce, constituted to sustain the efforts of the elimination of child labour and forced labour from the sports goods industry and to support the lower tiers of the supply chain to replicate the best practices. The major inputs discussed and shared were automation of industrial operations, data mapping in the sports goods sector, education grant for workers, development of technical education facilities, redemption plan for suppliers, tasking bipartite committees of workers and employers to undertake self-inspection and development of compliance programs including monitoring within the lower tiers. The ILO will support the EFP in conducting taskforce meeting in the coming months to implement the action plan and take concrete steps accordingly.

Mr Qaiser Iqbal Baryal, President, Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) shared that the Sialkot Chamber had a zero tolerance policy for non-compliance with labour standards concerning child labour and other labour related matters. The SCCI supported the positive role that enterprises can play in promoting CSR through social compliance. He added that that the Sialkot model framework for elimination of child labour should be replicated in the lower tiers of the supply chain and other industrial sectors.

Mr Ismail Suttar, President, EFP opined that enterprises must adopt socially responsible labour practices and ensure them in their supply chain to withstand global competitiveness. The sports goods industry must take concrete measures to sustain the efforts already made in the soccer ball industry in the elimination of child labour and forced labour.

Mr Zahoor Awan, General Secretary PWF in his remarks emphasized that compliance with national and international standards is a national necessity for the sustainable growth of industry and business in Pakistan. The elimination of child labour from the first tier of sports goods industry was the result of joint efforts by the employers and the workers. It was necessary to take measures to sustain them and to strive hard to ensure that the lower tiers of supply chain can also be declared child labour free.

Mr Muzamil Habib Shaikh, Project Coordinator, ILO in his remarks explained the major initiatives taken under the MNED Project. He shared that ILO is committed to work with the tripartite stakeholders to address the issues of child labour and forced labour on a sustainable basis. He referred to the MNE Declaration as the only ILO instrument that provides direct guidance to enterprises on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices. The instrument also calls upon Multinational Enterprises to use their leverage to encourage their business partners to provide effective means of enabling remediation for abuses of internationally recognized human rights.

Mr Zaigham Abbas, Director Labour, Mr Ahmad Haseeb, Director EOBI, Ms Tehmina Asad, Labour Economist, Mr Muhammad Ali Butt and Mr Muhammad Saad representing Pakistan Workers Federation, Major (Retd) Javed Akhter, Manager Director, Forward Gears, Mr Abdul Waheed Sandal, former EFP Board Member, Mr Fasihul Karim Siddiqui, Advisor EFP and Mr Syed Nazar Ali, Director, EFP Board also addressed the meetings.

EFP is one of the core constituents of ILO and is implementing a number of activities under the phase III of project “More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in Pakistan”. The Project is funded by Government of Japan through its Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific (SSN Fund).