Community-level awareness raising seminars on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) for cotton growing communities

A three-part seminar on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) was organized by the Sindh Agricultural & Forestry Workers Coordinating Organization (SAFWCO) in Sanghar, Sindh Province with the support of ILO's INDITEX funded project.

Press release | Sanghar, Pakistan | 09 April 2021
SANGHAR (ILO News): Nearly 100 participants attended three seminars on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) organized by the Sindh Agricultural & Forestry Workers Coordinating Organization (SAFWCO) from 8 to 10 March 2021 at different three villages of District Sanghar-Sindh Province. These awareness-raising seminars were organized by ILO’s INDITEX funded project on promoting FPRW in the Cotton Supply Chain.

Ms Belinda Chanda, Programme Analyst, ILO Country Office for Pakistan, joined the event virtually on 8 March 2021 as Chief Guest. She appreciated the efforts of the SAFWCO team in arranging seminars on FPRW for the cotton-growing communities. She commended participants for their active participation and highlighted the importance of FPRW and occupational safety and health (OSH), particularly for a productive and sustainable cotton supply chain in Pakistan. Ms Chanda also thanked the representatives of the Pakistan Workers Federation for their active participation.

In addition to celebrating International Women’s Day and improving FPRW awareness of 99 participants (80 female, including 11 adolescents, and 19 male), the seminars provided an opportunity to discuss the issues and challenges faced in the cotton supply chain.

Mr Gulfam Nabi Memon, former Joint Director Labour, Government of Sindh, Mr Arjum Kumar, Senior Master Trainer on Labour Law, Human Rights and OSH, three resource persons from SAFWCO, Ms Farha Kashif, Ms Samreen Khan and Mr Zafar Talpur, and Mr Ijaz Ahmed, National Project Coordinator, ILO introduced FPRW and occupational safety and health using local perspectives. The participants were sensitized on the importance of FPRW, informed of their constitutional and legislative rights, and remedies available within the national laws and regulatory institutions related to child labour, forced labour, discrimination, freedom of association, collective bargaining, occupational safety & health and Decent Work. Information on existing channels to secure legal, social and economic support were also shared and discussed.

Moreover, participants learned about the concept of social dialogue and tripartism and the Public-Private Partnership between the ILO and INDITEX to promote FPRW in the cotton supply chain. Several publications on FPRW such as posters, leaflets etc. in Sindhi language, produced under the project, were disseminated to enhance the understanding of FPRW and OSH practices, including COVID-19 preventative measures.

The participants raised several social, economic and cultural challenges that they were facing, including forced labour, child labour, child education, unemployment, low wages, holidays, termination, discrimination, harassment at the workplace, poverty etc. and discussed the possible solutions.

Participants expressed their commitment to sharing their learning of the seminars with their family members, co-workers, relatives and neighbouring communities.