JILAF, together with the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), jointly held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Islamabad on November 15–16. The seminar was attended by 44 PWF-affiliated trade unionists from across Pakistan, including PWF President Ajab Khan and PWF General Secretary Zahoor Awan. Discussions among the participants focused on clauses in labour legislation that should be revised in the four states of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh, related issues, and specific measures to realize amendment demands.
At the opening of the seminar, PWF President Khan and General Secretary Awan, who is also a Regular Member of ILO Governing Body (Workers), expressed their gratitude for the continued cooperation from JILAF and the Japanese government. They noted that although there are differences among the states, it is the PWF’s role to correct any labour legislation that tends to be disadvantageous for workers in general. They also stressed the significance of learning from Japan’s experience and from JILAF and encouraged the participants to utilize what they learn in the seminar in their future activities.
JILAF Executive Director Takao Yasunaga also delivered an opening address in which he outlined the purpose of the seminar, which focused on the building of constructive industrial relations, and expressed the hope that it would contribute to social and economic development, employment stability, and the protection of workers’ rights in Pakistan.
In the first lecture, JILAF Executive Director Yasunaga gave an overview of efforts to realize constructive industrial relations and employment stability in Japan. Regarding the Japanese labour movement, he said, “Trade unions have opportunities to talk with the government and employers and have built constructive industrial relations at both the workplace and industrial levels. They are respected by the government and employers and have gained the empathy of trade union members and the public.”
On the afternoon of the first day and morning of the second day of the seminar, a PWF policy advisor reported the results of an analysis of labour legislation in the four states since devolution, on the basis of which the participants engaged in discussions and JILAF made comments. Among other issues, the participants commented on whether or not states had such clauses, compared levels, noted the lack of capacity among state assembly members and administrative officials, and described efforts to submit requests for the investigation of unconstitutionality to district courts.
In addition, the director of a PWF think tank, gave a lecture on action to realize the PWF’s policy and system demands, proposing timely and speedy efforts to gain sympathy and the lobbying of politicians (including, depending on the case, the importance of involving the ILO).
At the closing ceremony, a representative of the participants declared that they would take what had been learned through the seminar back to their workplaces and repeatedly discuss the issues. PWF President Khan then gave a wrap-up comment, and JILAF Executive Director Yasunaga ended the seminar by pointing out that since there is a danger that wages, other working conditions, and standards could be lowered, it is necessary to make efforts to raise them. While stressing the importance of not neglecting faults in local laws, regarding constructive industrial relations in Japan, he also cited the example of a leading automobile company that realized a switch from the textile industry to the automobile industry, followed by technological development and productivity improvement, thanks to cooperation between labour and management. In order to beat global competition, he concluded, it is essential for labour and management to make efforts in the same direction.
|11/15||Tue||Seminar day 1|
|11/16||Wed||Seminar day 2|