FAISALABAD

The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have entered into a partnership for the promotion of garments and textile industry in Faisalabad.

The signing ceremony was held at Islamabad. Dignitaries from the government, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Muhammad Adress, representatives of employers and workers organisations, and the representatives of diplomatic missions in Pakistan including the German Embassy and the Royal Embassy of Netherlands participated in the event.

The partnership agreement includes a comprehensive framework on improving industrial relations through training and compliance with International labour standards including occupational safety and health, wages, nature of employment, discrimination and other forms of labour practices as well as strengthening employers’ and workers’ organizations in garment and textile industry.

Addressing the participants, Francesco d’ Ovidio, country director of ILO, said that issues in the garment industry were systemic and required action that helped develop effective industrial relations and promote respect of international labour standards. There is, therefore, an urgent need to establish strategic and comprehensive public private collaborations, he said.

PTEA Chairman Sohail Pasha said that foreign trade has a lot of attached responsibilities as the international buyers were increasingly getting sensitive about ethical sourcing and international compliances. “We are pleased in collaborating with ILO for improvement of working conditions and implementation of international labour standards in textile industries. We see the cooperation as a great opportunity to further strengthen our work towards the establishment of well-functioning industrial units to increase sectoral productivity and competitiveness and reap the benefits of GSP Plus. Pakistan is the ninth largest workforce with around 56 million workers and textile industry is the largest manufacturing industry of the country and the 8th largest exporter of textile products in Asia. It has traditionally been the only industry that has generated notable employment opportunities for both skilled and non-skilled labour,” he added.

On the occasion, Sikandar Ismail Khan, Secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development, said that GSP Plus was an opportunity and the new collaboration would help improve the image of Pakistan textile industries as responsible workplaces that were compliant with national laws, including those based on international labour standards.

Federal Secretary Ministry of Textile Industry Amir M Khan Marwa endorsed the partnership, and said that the ministry had also reflected compliance to the labour laws in textile policy which was of immense importance in order to reap the benefits of trade preferences such as GSP Plus.

Secretary, Labour and Human Resource Department Punjab Ishrat Ali assured the participants of district level support through effective and systematic labour inspection. The representatives of the employers’ and workers’ organisations fully supported the partnership framework and stressed on the importance of establishing a coordination mechanism between textile industries, related workers organisations and Labour Departments on compliance and reporting on labour laws.

The signing ceremony featured a presentation on the partnership framework that defined in detail outcomes and outputs envisioned as part of the collaboration.