Promoting a level playing field

Sialkot sports goods sector promotes a level playing field

The Employers Federation of Pakistan in collaboration with Baidarie and with the technical assistance of ILO under the Japan Government funded Project on “More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in the sports goods industry in Sialkot” held a sensitization event with stakeholders on the importance of sports activities to achieve decent work.

Press release | Sialkot, Pakistan | 16 April 2018
SIALKOT (ILO News): The International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and Baidarie organized a sports gala on 28 March 2018 in Sialkot under the theme “Promoting a level playing field”. The event was organized under the Japan funded project on More and Better Jobs in the Sports Goods Industry which has been under implementation since August 2015. Over 400 participants including ILO’s constituents, Embassy of Japan, Pakistan Olympic Association, social partners and key stakeholders attended the event. The event raised awareness on the importance of sports activities for decent work and better working conditions in line with principles of the Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE) Declaration which seeks to maximize the positive contribution that (multinational) enterprises can make to economic and social development.

Chief Guest, Mr Shinichi Honda, First Secretary, Deputy Head, Economic & Development Section, Embassy of Japan in his remarks appreciated the stakeholders’ efforts in achieving objectives set out in the project. Mr Honda also stated that the Government of Japan would continue its support in the promotion of decent work and sports activities in Pakistan.

Mr Majyd Aziz, President, EFP in his remarks stated that decent work would not be achieved in the absence of a healthy society and that this could be facilitated through the promotion of the sports goods sector which has also proven to increase employment opportunities and productivity.

Mr Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Secretory General, EFP shared the achievements of the project and requested the Government of Japan to provide further support for the continuity and expansion of the project to other industrial hubs in Pakistan such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore and Faisalabad.

Ms Ingrid Christensen, Director of the ILO, emphasized on the importance of teamwork to achieve decent work in Pakistan and improve working conditions. She also highlighted the importance of gender equality and occupational safety and health at the workplace. Ms Christensen expressed her gratitude to the Government of Japan for supporting the project adding that the Sialkot based industries supplied its sports goods products to world known brands which were used in international championships such as the football world cup and the Olympic games, therefore. For this reason, the industries in Pakistan should be socially compliant and the products should be produced under decent working conditions.

Mr Sho Sudo, Chief Technical Advisor and Overall Coordinator, ILO/Japan Multi-Bilateral Programme, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok, Thailand) said that workers of sports goods industry in Sialkot contribute to leisure activities worldwide. Therefore, further collaborative and consistent efforts were required to promote decent work.

An interactive panel discussion formed part of the gala under the theme “Sport for all, decent work for all”. This panel comprised of Dr. Muhammad Suhail Shahzad-Additional Secretary, Labour & Human Resource Department, Mr Haji Muhammad Javaid- Board Member and Former President of EFP, Mr Muhammad Jahangir- Associate Secretary, Pakistan Olympic Association, Mr Ijaz Ahmad Khokhar-Chairman, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) and Mr Arshid Mehmood Mirza-Executive Director, Baidarie, Sialkot.
Mr Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Secretary General EFP facilitated the panel discussion and concluded the panelists’ recommendations, remarks and proposals for way forward of the project among which included:
  • The need for MNEs in the sports goods sector to work together to promote a culture of sports in the country as a basic requirement for decent work;
  • Enhanced capacity of technical and vocational training institutes in Sialkot to produce a skilled workforce to meet the advanced technical requirements of the industry;
  • A comprehensive plan of action based on need of the industry and workers should be developed to promote decent work in line with the principles of the MNE Declaration.
About Sialkot: Located in north-east Punjab’s province of Pakistan, Sialkot is globally known for its exports of quality goods and is among the major industrial hubs in Pakistan. Development of local cottage industries of Sialkot has assumed a model status for the developing world. The city is dotted with thousands of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises engaged in production of sports goods, surgical Instruments, leather garments & products, badges & military uniform, musical Instruments, cutlery & stainless utensils, tents & canvas, hosiery & knitwear, saddlery, martial arts, equipment and uniforms, rubber goods industry, electro-plating industry. Among the global brands that source their sports goods from Sialkot include Nike, Adidas, Puma, Uhlsport, Mitre, Decathlon, Reebok, Fila, Fruit of the Loom, Lotto, Molten, Slazenger, Intersport, Russell Athletic, and Kariban and many more. Major buying countries of sports goods from Sialkot include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Dubai, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mauritania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United, Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Zimbabwe, etc.