Sports for all, Decent Work for all: Workers and Employers committed towards realizing Decent Work

The Employers Federation of Pakistan in collaboration with Pakistan Olympics Association, Pakistan Workers Federation, Sports Board Punjab and with the technical assistance of ILO conducted a series of awareness events “Sports for all, Decent work for all” in Lahore and Sialkot. The events sensitized the importance of sports activities as vehicles to achieve decent work with an emphasis on elimination of child labour.

Press release | Lahore and Sialkot, Pakistan | 16 November 2020
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) in collaboration with Pakistan Olympics Association (POA), Pakistan Workers Federation, Sports Board Punjab and with support of International Labour Organization (ILO) organized two awareness raising events. The awareness events followed by volley ball matches under the theme “Sports for all, Decent work for all” were held on 3rd October 2020 at Millat Tractors Ltd. Lahore and on 17th October 2020 at Forward Sports Sialkot. The events were organized under the Japan funded project on “More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in Pakistan”.

The event gathered participants including workers, employers, Government officials, representatives from the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), and other key stakeholders along the national and international Pakistani players to highlight the importance of sports in building a healthy society and productive workplace. The event raised awareness on the role that sports activities can play in promoting decent work and better working conditions in line with the 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 including the realisation of Fundamentals Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW). Sports is also an 'enabler' for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Friendly volleyball matches were played between the teams of “Millat Tractor” and “Sahiwal Lions” in Lahore. Similarly, another match between “Sambrial Club” and “Ugoki Lions Club” was played at Forward Sports Sialkot. All teams demonstrated an excellent performance. Prizes were distributed among the winning teams by DG Sports of Government of Punjab in Lahore and by Mr Khawaja Masood Ahmed CEO Forward Group of Companies and Mr Khalid Mahmood, Secretary General, POA in Sialkot.

In his opening remarks, Mr Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President, EFP welcomed the participants. He shared that sports and work are mutually integrated and beneficial for each other. Sports contributes in improving the quality of work by creating balance between body and mind. Organizations that promote physical wellbeing of their workers through sports activities also promote a healthy mind that enables workers to bring creativity and efficiency in the work they perform. Quality of work and life of workers promotes decent work with decent wages to workers. He added that the objective of the seminar is also to promote respect for FPRW, showcase efforts made for elimination of child labor and promotion of non-discrimination.

Mr Adnan Arshad, DG Sports, Government of Punjab graced the event as a chief guest in Lahore. He reconfirmed Government of Punjab’s commitment and his willingness to further collaborate with EFP, ILO and POA for promoting sports as a strategy to engage with communities and raise awareness on key principles enshrined in MNED. He shared that the sports industry should come forward in producing sports and healthy culture in industry. It will not be only a practice of corporate social responsibility but will support in acquisition of talent and creating a positive image in society. He also shared that the Sports Department will support this cause by extending its facilities of sports centers.

Mr Khalid Mahmood, Secretary General POA, thanked EFP and ILO for promoting decent work through sports and assured full support and cooperation in developing a long-term partnership. He said that POA believes that the decent work is not possible without good health both mental and physical, enabling and safe working environment to be provided by employers and hard work at the end of the workers. He added that good sportsman and worker has same qualities; good health and hard work. He also highlighted a number of initiatives untaken by POA as well as need to display such examples globally and at the Tokyo 2020.

While addressing, the event in Sialkot Khawaja Masood Ahmed said healthy body and healthy mind are complementary prerequisite for a sportsperson and a worker. The sports goods industry of Sialkot fully support the promotion of sports in promotion of ‘Decent Work program”. He added that employers are taking number of other CSR initiatives including facilitation for sports in workers.

Mr Zahoor Awan, Secretary General, Pakistan Workers Federation at Lahore, strongly advocated for promoting decent work through sports and healthy activities. He shared that a healthy culture at work place promote ergonomics and decent work. A healthy body is essential for a healthy mind in order to motivate workers for better productivity. Sports not only bring competition but also respect for rules set for the game, which are applicable across the board. Therefore, provide an entry point to also discuss the rules of game to achieve decent work.

Mr Saghir Bukhari, Senior Program Officer, ILO highlighted the key elements of the Decent Work Country Program for Pakistan (2016-2022). He shared that such activities can provide a platform to discuss and resolve the issues in a healthy environment. On behalf of the Country Director ILO, he appreciated the collaboration between stakeholders and reconfirmed ILO’s support towards its constituents to achieve decent work for all.

Mr Muzamil Habib Shaikh, Project Coordinator ILO, shared the project objectives including promotion of best practices of sport goods industry in Tokyo 2020. He also briefed the objectives of ILO in promotion of decent work. He extended thanks to the constituents for supporting the event and advocating decent work.

Mr Choudhry Naseem PWF, Mr Haji Maqsood President CBA Millat Tractors and Mr Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, EFP also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the importance of the activity in achieving decent work.

EFP is one of the core constituents of ILO and is implementing a number of activities under the phase III of project “More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in Pakistan”. The Project is funded by Government of Japan through its Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific (SSN Fund).