Tuesday, January 7, 2014

PAKISTAN:::ILO's 'Better Work Program': 'non-implementation may lead to loss of export orders'

Muneer Qureshi, federal secretary for overseas Pakistanis and manpower, said on Monday that Disneyland may stop export orders, if industries do not implement "Better Work Program" for labour. Addressing the member of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA), he said that Pakistan is making all efforts with the support of other countries for some relief regarding implementation of "Better Work Program". "If once Disneyland bans Pakistan's exports then other western countries may follow to take strict stance on labour laws", he added. 

He said that Pakistan is seeking some relaxation for this programme and has already requested for some delay of this programme as Pakistan is unable to implement the programme due to law and order situation. "We want delay of this programme for a period during which our export- oriented industries can implement the related conventions", he informed. He said that Pakistan ranks 19th in good governess index, while, as per international standard, it should be 25th and Better Work Program is required in that countries where governess is lesser than international standard. 

Federal secretary said that Bangladesh and Myanmar have already qualified for this programme, while Pakistan, India and China have requested for some relaxation. "We have asked international Labour Organisation (ILO) that Pakistan's case should be considered as a special one and relief should be provided because of the prevailing circumstances", he added. 

Federal and provincial associations should play an active role to overcome these threats he said, adding that there is also need to implement 8 primary conventions, out of 27, on top priority basis. Talking about the programme, Qureshi said that this is like an ISO-1000 certification and after implementation of this programme only certified industries can get export orders Under this programme, ILO inspection teams will visit different industries to evaluate their working environment, he added. 

Punjab has already initiated "Model Labour Program", other provinces should follow Punjab and start such programmes, Qureshi said and added that in the past industrialists always got relaxation on labour issues, however, current situation makes it necessary for industries to implement international labour laws to continue their business. He said that ministry of oversees manpower is also planning to set up vocational institutes across the country. 

Addressing the PHMA members, Jaweed Bilwani, chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum said that value added textile sector has always agreed to provide all necessary facilities to its labour and implement international labour laws; however the process should be easier. "We are not against labour unions, however, we will not support or accept the union backed by the political parties", he added. He also suggested state of the art fire stations in all major industrial areas on public-private partnership basis. On the occasion Irfan Bawani, Jamal Rasheed, Muzammil Hussain, Naqi Bari, Iqbal Lakhani, Khawaja Usman, Kamran Chandna, Muhammad Shafi and others also expressed their opinion. 


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