Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Pakistan

Pakistan has a population of about 190 million people, the sixth largest in the world. It has an abundant young labour force and, thanks also to its geographical advantages, substantial economic growth potential. In 2014 its gross domestic product grew by 4.2%, and its per capita gross national income was $1,386 (166,735 yen). At the same time, however, about 20% of the population lives in poverty (that is, an income of less than $2 [240 yen] a day), and the rich-poor gap and high inflation rate are the causes of social instability. Pakistan also faces such issues as (1) stabilization of the political situation and public security, (2) protection of the rights of women and their social participation, (3) the eradication of corruption, (4) the ending of disputes (Kashmir and the Afghan border), (5) the fostering of domestic industries (other than agriculture and textiles), and (6) the alleviation of electric power shortages. In addition, there is no mechanism in Pakistan to protect workers. Special economic zones in the country are exempted from the application of various labour-related laws and regulations, such as the law on worker compensation in the case of industrial accidents, the minimum wage ordinance, and the law on wage payment, and compared with other countries, violations of the rights of workers are a major problem.
In these circumstances, JILAF, together with the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar titled “Globalization and the Building of Sound Industrial Relations” in Islamabad on September 6–7. The seminar was attended by about 50 persons, including senior officials of the PWF; Mr. Zaka Ullah Khan, Registrar, Nation Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC); Mr. Muhammad Asif Sheikh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Mr. Shabbir Jamal, Ex-Central Labour Advisor Minister of Labour (including four officials from enterprise-based unions at Japanese companies operating in Pakistan).
In the seminar, lectures were given on such topics as “Formation of the Postwar Japanese Labour Movement and Characteristics of Industrial Relations in Japan,” “Legislation on Industrial Relations after the 18th Constitutional Revision,” “Industrial Relations, Employment Stability, and Efforts to Prevent Industrial Disputes,” “The Building of Constructive Industrial Relations and Prevention of Meaningless Industrial Disputes,” and “Contributions to Productivity Improvement and Employment Stability.” There was also a panel discussion on old-age pensions and workers’ welfare funds.
Many members of the audience voiced the opinion that the building of Japanese-style industrial relations would be beneficial for both labour and management. After the lectures, JILAF Executive Director Hisashige Danno replied to questions from the floor for about an hour on such matters as (1) relations between RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and the government and issues facing RENGO; (2) average union dues in Japan and means of collecting them; (3) the role of the United States in Japan-US relations since World War II; (4) the role of women in stages of economic development in Japan; (5) measures to cope with aging and the low birthrate and migration policy in Japan; (6) the improvement of per capita production value and the medium- and long-term outlook for Pakistan’s economy; (7) the key to attracting multinational enterprises to settle; (8) the social advancement of women in Japan and the role of trade unions toward the realization of a gender-equal society; and (9) strike funds in Japan. The seminar end with wrap-up comments by JILAF Executive Director Danno and PWF President Ajab Khan.

*Exchange rate: $1 = 120.30 yen (as of October 16, 2015)

Schedule

DateContents
09/06SunIndustrial relations seminar (day 1):
“Formation of the Postwar Japanese Labour Movement and Characteristics of Industrial Relations in Japan,” “Legislation on Industrial Relations after the 18th Constitutional Revision,” “Industrial Relations, Employment Stability, and Efforts to Prevent Industrial Disputes,” etc.
09/07MonIndustrial relations seminar (day 2):
Panel discussion on old-age pensions and workers’ welfare funds, “The Building of Constructive Industrial Relations and Prevention of Meaningless Industrial Disputes,” “Contributions to Productivity Improvement and Employment Stability,” etc.

Photos of Participants

Q&A session with the audience

Lectures by NIRC Chairman Khan and Mr. Shabbir Jamal, Ex-Central Labour Advisor Minister of Labour

Panel discussion on old-age pensions and workers’ welfare funds