Capacity building session for the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on the framework of fundamental principles and rights at work

ILO Country Office for Pakistan, through its European Union (EU) funded project ‘Sustaining Strengthened National Capacities to Improve International Labour Standards (ILS) Compliance and Reporting in Relevant EU Trading Partners’ engages the field formations of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on the Framework of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, their measurement and the related issues.

Press release | Karachi, Pakistan | 13 November 2019
ILO Country Office for Pakistan, through its European Union (EU) funded project ‘Sustaining Strengthened National Capacities to Improve International Labour Standards (ILS) Compliance and Reporting in Relevant EU Trading Partners’ arranged a capacity building event at National Institute for Labour Administration and Training (NILAT) Karachi, on 13 November 2019. Purpose of the event was to introduce Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) framework to the officials of provincial bureaus of statistics, who are actually involved in the implementation of LFS. Officials of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), who take part in the Labour Force Survey (LFS), participated from its thirty-four field establishments, located all across the country. The event followed an early working session, which was arranged in Islamabad on 29 March 2019 for the LFS directorate of PBS.

The session pertained to Priority 3 as set out by the Government, Employers and Workers in the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) 2016-2020 and Outcome 2 of the Pakistan One United Nations Programme III (OP III) 2018-2022. FPRW are important pillars of Decent Work and an integral part of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and more specifically referred to its Target 8.7 on the elimination of unacceptable forms of work, as well as other targets such as 8.5 and 8.8. PBS being the principal statistical agency plays key role in monitoring the country’s progress towards SDGs.

Mr Syed Saghir Bukhari, Senior Programme Officer, ILO Country Office for Pakistan while inaugurating the event welcomed the participants and expressed the hope that acquaintance of LFS field personnel with the FPRW framework will help them demystify the fundamental labour rights that FPRW craft and in turn help them better contribute to the improved measurement of FPRW.

Mr Abid Niaz Khan, National Project Coordinator of the DG-Trade project explained the FPRW conceptual framework while Mr Shaukat Ali, Director LFS presented the indicators and variables that relate to FPRW in the current structure of LFS. The participants brought to the table various suggestions for improving and enhancing the indicators and complementing the household based LFS with an establishment-based module, so that the FPRW measurement could improve.

The process initiated by the ILO-CO and its DG-Trade project towards frequent, systematic and inexpensive measurement of FPRW has helped in the identification of possible indicators and variables that can be included in the LFS questionnaire for helping better measure the FPRW. The technical committee of Labour Force Survey in its meeting of 24 January 2020 took up the proposal to lower the age limit of working population from 10 years to 5 years so that the child labour could also be captured in the regular survey of LFS without any additional costs. The decision in this regards would however be effective once the ongoing CL surveys are completed. Such change in variable of the age of the household members to 5 years from the present benchmark of 10 years will help trace the economically active children between 5-12 age brackets, who are simply child labourers. Some questions, which are also on the cards, include whether a household member holds membership of a trade union and collective bargaining agency etc. will be helpful in measuring the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.