Decent work in Pakistan

image - Skills training

Decent and productive work, fairly remunerated and in safe conditions is central to reducing poverty, and a means of achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The ILO works to develop decent work-oriented approaches to economic and social policy in partnership with the principal institutions and actors of the multilateral system and the global economy.

ILO action in Pakistan is directed at the adoption of decent work as a national objective and assisting ILO constituents towards that objective.

The ILO and the tripartite constituents are active partners in the One UN Reform Programme and decent work issues and DWCP interventions are being mainstreamed into the One UN Programme in Pakistan. Evidence of this can be seen in the increasing number of interventions that now refer not only to employment, but to decent employment as a key objective in reducing poverty.

National Plans of Action for Decent Work and Decent Work Country Programmes

Countries, including Pakistan, define their Decent Work Objectives in National Plans of Action for Decent Work (NPADW) that align with national development frameworks and international commitments, such as international labour standards (ILS) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The ILO identifies specific areas for its support from the NPADW which are then articulated in integrated Decent Work Country Programmes developed in consultation with ILO constituents.

Decent Work Country Programmes are the main platform for delivery of ILO support to countries and in addition to promoting decent work they organise ILO knowledge, instruments, advocacy and cooperation at the service of tripartite constituents in a results-based framework within the fields of comparative advantage of the Organization. Tripartism and social dialogue are central to the planning and implementation of DWCPs.

Pakistan Decent Work Country Programme

The formulation of the Pakistan Decent Work Country Programme is a joint effort of the Ministry of Labour and Manpower (MoLM), the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF) with support from the ILO Country Office. Initial tripartite consultations were held in Islamabad in May 2004 and the first DWCP was finalized on 7th September 2005, covering the period 2006 – 2009. A new National Plan of Action for Decent Work (NPADW, 2010 - 2015) has recently been prepared in alignment with the national planning cycle and will guide the new DWCP (2010-2015).

The Pakistan NPADW and DWCP support the operationalisation of key development frameworks including the 10th 5-Year Plan: Investing in People (2010-2105), the Pakistan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II) and key policies including the 2010 National Labour Policy, draft National Employment Policy, the Labour Protection and Inspection Policies, the National Skills Strategy, the National Youth and Education Policies and the National Policies and Plans of Action to Eliminate Child Labour and Abolish Bonded Labour.

Four broad priority areas that emerged from consultations for the first National Plan of Action and Decent Work Country Programme remain relevant within the current National Plan of Action for Decent Work (NPADW, 2010 – 2015):

  • Labour law reform;
  • Employment generation through human resource development, with a focus on employable skills;
  • Social protection expansion, including in the informal economy; and
  • Tripartism and social dialogue promotion.

Key interventions

A number of interventions under the four broad priorities will guide the ILO’s support within the new Decent Work Country Programme (2010 – 2015) including ILO programmes initiated during the first NPADW/DWCP period:

  • Facilitating the pace of labour law reform through technical and financial support for tripartite and bipartite consultations on three key pieces of legislation for harmonious industrial relations, improved occupational safety and health and enhanced employment conditions and services;
  • Increasing women’s participation in, and reducing discrimination in the workplace, with the objective of increased equality for both men and women;
  • Increasing women and men’s access to opportunities to increase marketable skills for waged and/or self-employment;
  • Supporting institutional efforts, in particular of the tripartite constituents, to prevent, withdraw and rehabilitate child labourers and put in place mechanisms that ensure elimination of child labour practices;
  • Supporting tripartite initiatives to check bonded labour practices and the incidence of internal and external human trafficking and strengthening law enforcement responses;
  • Enhancing institutional and programmatic mechanisms, in particular of the tripartite constituents, that support the withdrawal of youth and vulnerable men and women from employment that is hazardous to their health and well-being, and improve their access to more productive forms of work;
  • Enhancing institutional mechanisms, especially of tripartite constituents, to improve the quality of labour market data and information;
  • Enhancing institutional mechanisms for labour inspection as means of ensuring and encouraging the application of labour laws and practices for decent and productive work;
  • Capacitating employers’ and workers’ representatives to constructively engage in social dialogue at all levels;
  • Enhancing the representation and voice of workers through trade union membership;
  • Expanding the coverage of social protection to the working poor through increased formalization of jobs and incomes; and
  • Mainstreaming decent work issues and objectives throughout the One UN Programme.