Labour standards in global supply chains: A programme for action in Asia and the garment sector

In collaboration with Germany’s GIZ, the ILO will take up challenges to labour standards and working conditions arising from globalised garment production, focusing on Cambodia, Indonesia and Pakistan. The ILO’s Pakistan Office will work with its tripartite social partners, the Government, Pakistan Workers’ Federation and Employers’ Federation of Pakistan to improve labour market governance and working conditions throughout the globalised supply chain.

At a glance

Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development, Provincial Departments of Labour, Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, Pakistan Workers’ Federation, sectoral industry associations.

Target beneficiaries
Garment workers, Employers’ and Workers’ organizations, garment producing enterprises, federal and provincial governments

Geographical focus

Project Objectives

This project is the Pakistan component of the global effort to promote decent working conditions in the garment industry throughout southern Asia. In Pakistan the garment industry provides 15 million jobs for Pakistanis, and is the country’s largest manufacturing employer. It contributes 9.5 per cent to GDP. However, garment workers suffer from poor working conditions, low wages and inadequate occupational safety.

In 2014 Pakistan was granted Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus status by the European Union (EU), which allows it to pay lower or no duties on exports to the EU. However to maintain this status, Pakistan needs to make concrete steps to improve workers’ conditions and promote decent work by ratifying and implementing 27 UN conventions, including the eight ILO Fundamental Conventions.

In 2010 the 18th Amendment to the Constitution devolved the implementation of labour regulations to provincial level, placing a significant burden on the provincial governments. This project supports all levels of the Pakistani government, the ILO’s tripartite constituents and broader stakeholders in the textiles and garment sectors in their work to achieve the following objectives:
  • Strengthen participatory and evidence based minimum wage fixing and collective bargaining mechanisms.
  • Increase access to information on wages, working conditions and industrial relations, to improve the quality of social dialogue on labour standards.
  • Strengthen the institutional capacity of the ILO’s tripartite constituents and other relevant stakeholders to respond to labour standards challenges.
By adopting a broad multi-stakeholder approach, this project aims to benefit workers across the global supply chain, strengthen social dialogue and better ensure Pakistan’s ability to deliver on its international obligations and maintain its GSP+ status.

Main Activities

  • Provide support and technical assistance to the federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development in assessing the impact of trade agreements such as GSP+ in order to strengthen implementation and reporting.
  • Provide support and technical assistance to the provincial government in Sindh to improve wage setting mechanisms and implementation of minimum wage legislation, particularly in relation to vulnerable groups such as home-based workers.
  • Facilitate social dialogue through the ILO’s tripartite consultation mechanisms and the broader Garment Sector Stakeholder Forum.
  • Map elements of the informal sector supply chains in geographical areas of the garment and textile sectors, particularly those areas in which vulnerable groups such as home based workers are engaged, in order to support the expansion of minimum wage protections.
  • Improve understanding of and data demonstrating the extent of the gender pay gap in the garment and textile sectors.
  • Improve understanding of the current minimum wage enforcement mechanisms and support efforts to identify methods to improve implementation and enforcement.

Project Outcomes

  • Improving coverage and implementation of minimum wage protections in Pakistan.
  • Improving access to minimum wage protections, particularly for vulnerable groups such as home based workers.
  • Providing more comprehensive data on the gender pay gap to better inform social dialogue on wage equality.
  • Strengthening the ability of the workers’ organizations to identify opportunities for reform and use social dialogue to advocate for a reform agenda that benefits both employers
  • and workers.
  • Improving working conditions for women and men, in particular vulnerable groups in the informal economy, by strengthening labour market governance and industrial relations.
  • Strengthening the abilities of the federal and provincial governments to implement the ILO’s Fundamental Conventions and fulfil Pakistan’s reporting requirements.
  • Supporting Pakistan in meeting its international obligations and strengthening its ability to maintain its GSP Plus status.
  • Creating decent work for all in Pakistan.