Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Pakistan

Group photo

JILAF, together with the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Islamabad on September 14–15 with the participation of about 60 PWF-affiliated trade union officials (of whom 11 were women).

At the opening ceremony, PWF General Secretary Zahoor Awan, who is also labour director of the International Labour Organization (ILO), expressed his gratitude for the continued cooperation from JILAF and the Japanese government and called for strengthened collaboration with JILAF. JILAF President Hiroyuki Nagumo remarked that, amid international competition, it was important to enhance the value of labour and to foster human resources for that purpose. In order to achieve social and economic development through them, he added, it was necessary to realize sound workplace-based industrial relations and to strengthen industrial relations. He also urged the participants to effectively utilize the seminar toward the improvement of their responses to such challenges as child labour, forced labour, and labour legislation that is disadvantageous to workers.

After the opening ceremony, JILAF Group Leader Naohiro Tsuji gave an overview of Japan’s constructive industrial relations and explained the importance of mutual understanding between labour and management with an emphasis on discussions, introducing the labour-management consultation system as an example, and of efforts to improve productivity and tackle business issues, as well as active efforts by labour and management in the workplace to ensure and stabilize employment. The participants asked many lively questions in response, to which JILAF President Nagumo gave thoughtful replies, thus gaining their understanding and empathy.

In the afternoon of the first day, after a discussion about social security, Additional Secretary Asif Sheik h, representing the government of Pakistan, based on his work experience in the Ministry of Labour, urged the importance of education and the need for workers to raise their voices. Completing the agenda for the first day, JILAF Group Leader Tsuji gave a brief explanation of Japan’s social security system, including employment insurance.

On the second day, an expert from the PWF spoke about the present state of agriculture and home-based work, which account for high shares of employment in Pakistan, explaining that they both involve low-paid and unstable jobs with long working hours, that such workers are difficult to organize, and that they are not eligible to receive social security. Furthermore, citing the advance success being seen in the organization of farming and fisheries workers in Sindh Province and home-based workers in Punjab Province, the expert suggested that countermeasures should be advanced through not only new methods but also the application of existing methods.

Next, PWF advisor Mr. Sabur Ghayur spoke about the impact of Pakistan’s eighteenth constitutional amendment on agricultural and home-based workers. Noting that efforts and methods of settlement different by province, he mentioned the necessity of education and a better legislative system and of speedy realization of the contents of legislation after enactment.

In the closing ceremony, after wrap-up comments by PWF General Secretary Awan, JILAF President Nagumo remarked that it had been meaningful on his first visit to Pakistan to have heard positive and enthusiastic discussions. Regarding the future role of the participants, he went on to stress the importance of trade unions fostering human resources, gaining the trust of society and the general public, and becoming such a social presence that the government is forced to listen to their views. Like RENGO (Japanese Trade Union Confederation), Mr. Nagumo added, it was important to teach senior high school and university students about labour-related legislation and to lend an ear to troubled union members. He concluded by offering best wishes for the good health of participants and the hope that their lively union activities would lead to Pakistan’s development. Mr. Nagumo also requested the PWF to encourage younger people to take part in the invitation program in the future so as to spread knowledge and experience more widely in the organization and institute a generation change.

Regarding future industrial relations and labour policy seminars in Pakistan, it was suggested by participants that they might be held in provincial cities, such as Lahore, and that nearby organizations could be invited to attend as well. The participants in this seminar included 11 persons who had experience of taking part in the invitation program in the past and were now playing central roles in their respective organizations.

Schedule

DateContents
09/14FriSeminar day 1
09/15SatSeminar day 2

Photos of the Participants

Opening address by PWF General Secretary Awan

Opening address by JILAF President Nagumo

Lecture by JILAF Group Leader Tsuji

Question from a participant

Question from a participant

General view of the seminar