Mine workers

ILO and All Pakistan Labour Federation join hands to protect safety and health of mine workers

Advocating a comprehensive strategy for safe mining in Pakistan and continuing the campaign for the ratification of Convention No. 176.

Press release | Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan | 02 September 2023
A mine worker in Pakistan. © Shutterstock
QUETTA, Pakistan (ILO News) – Ratification of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176) will ensure the rights of Pakistan’s 300,000 mine workers, participants at a consultative workshop, supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO), in Quetta, Baluchistan, concluded.

Representatives of government departments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, examined ways to promote occupational safety and health in mines at consultation, organized by the All-Pakistan Labour Foundation (APLF) and Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCLMF).

The participants agreed to intensify the campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention No. 176, to ensure workplace safety and social security coverage for Pakistan’s mine workers. A total of 34 countries have so far ratified Convention No. 176 which came into force in 1995, but not Pakistan.

“The ratification of Convention No. 176 is central to achieving decent work in a sector that is particularly prone to accidents and injuries. It is an essential tool for resolving the challenge of occupational safety and health (OSH) in Pakistan’s mining industry,” said Geir Tonstol, ILO Country Director for Pakistan.

He further recalled that a significant proportion of workers in Pakistan’s mining sector, especially casual labourers, are not able to access social protection, as they are not recognized as mine employees. “I am encouraged by the initiative of our social partners to establish a trade union platform of action on OSH in mines here in Baluchistan. The ILO is committed to providing the technical assistance required to create safer, healthier, and more inclusive workplaces for all,” added Geir Tonstol.

Lala Sultan Khan, President of APLF, welcomed participants and highlighted the challenges faced by mine workers, and called for joint actions using Trade Union Platforms, such as those in Baluchistan. “It's crucial to have a thorough understanding of the country's mining operations. Regular provincial and federal consultations are overdue to address mining sector challenges and enhance worker safety,” emphasized Sultan Khan.

Mines in Pakistan employ around 300,000 workers and contribute significantly to the GDP of the country. Accidents and injuries are reported every year. Workers at mining sites in Pakistan are often not provided with appropriate skills training to execute the work allocated to them, and they are unaware of potential hazards. In June 2022, the International Labour Conference took a historic step by incorporating "a safe and healthy working environment" into the ILO's framework of fundamental principles and rights at work.

During the consultative workshop, supported by the ILO in Quetta, Baluchistan. © ILO
Participants at the consultative workshop, Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan. © ILO

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Muhammad Numan
Communication Officer
Email: numan@ilo.org
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