Awareness raising seminars conducted on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work for cotton growing communities in district Sanghar

Under the ILO-INDITEX PPP, two community level awareness raising seminars were conducted in district Sanghar benefiting 159 participants (cotton growing communities and local key stakeholders) to strengthen their understanding on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the cotton supply chain.

Press release | Sanghar, Sindh Province, Pakistan | 22 April 2019
SANGHAR (ILO News): The ILO project on “Promoting Fundamental Principles & Rights at Work in the Cotton Supply Chain” funded by INDITEX organized two awareness raising seminars on the FPRW at Shahdadpur, district Sanghar on 17-18 April 2019. These seminars were arranged in teamwork with the ILO project on “Elimination of Child Labour and Forced Labour in the Cotton, Textile and Garment Value Chains: an Integrated Approach” Co-funded by the European Union (EU).

The participants (74 men and 85 women) representing cotton farm workers, small landlords and their association, Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP), Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) and local civil society were sensitized on the FPRW. Mr Usman Aslam, Sustainability Manager, INDITEX, also attended both the seminars.

Dr Noor Muhammad Lakho, Labor Officer District Sanghar and Mr Mashooq Memom - Technical Inspector OSH - Department of Labour Sindh, from EFP Mr Moula Buksh, President Small Land Lord Association, from PWF Mr Sauleh Baber, Information Secretary Sindh Agriculture and Fishing workers’ Union, the ILO and national experts interacted with the participants to raise awareness and improve understanding of the FPRW.

To enhance inclusive and pro-active participation and with due respect to cultural sensitivity, the sessions for men and women were organized separately. Furthermore, visual aids (pictures, animation videos and films) were used to enhance the learning process. The seminars were conducted bilingually using Urdu and Sindhi.

The participants were fully sensitized and informed about their constitutional and legislative rights on and remedies available within the national laws and relevant regulating institutions related to child labour, forced labour, discrimination, freedom of association, collective bargaining and occupational safety & health. Also, information about existing channels to secure legal, social and economic support were discussed. The participants were also briefed about the ILO, its mandate and tripartism.

The participants raised a number of social, economic and cultural challenges that they face including bonded labor, child labor, child education, unemployment, low wages, holidays, overtime, termination, discrimination and poverty and discussed possible solutions. In response to the requests for support to register the union of venerable group of cotton pickers/workers, the DoL Sindh offered its full assistance. Additionally, the DoL assured its support for accessing the existing social protection floor. At the end, the participants expressed their commitment to share the learnings of this seminar with their family members, relatives and neighboring communities. They also requested the ILO to take this initiative at farm level and conduct similar trainings and awareness seminars there.