Provinces review Labour Laws with ILO Conventions
More amendments are needed to harmonize the provincial Labour Legislations in line with Pakistan’s ratified ILO conventions. This was agreed by the representatives from the four provincial departments of labour, Gilgit Baltistan, Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) who jointly reviewed the labour laws in a four days’ workshop, 26 29 March 2013, held in Islamabad. The delegates jointly reviewed total of ten labour laws in the workshop that was organized by the ILO Pakistan Office in Islamabad. The workshop was also supported by the ILO project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, ‘Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment’. Ms Margaret Reade Rounds, Officer in Charge, ILO Pakistan Office, highlighted the importance of brining provincial labour legislation in line with the ratified ILO Conventions. She further said that Pakistan has ratified a total of 34 ILO conventions, including eight core conventions Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining, Child Labour, Forced Labour, and Discrimination (equal treatment in employment and occupation and equal remuneration for equal value of work). The representatives of EFP and PWF said that the workshop has provided an opportunity to officials of the labour departments to share their respective provincial experiences on the status of labour laws and harmonization with the International Labour Standards. The Gender focal persons from all Provincial DoLs also looked at these laws with a gender perspective. With the passage of 18th Amendment, the labour legislation and its implementation now solely rests with the provincial governments. Raja Faiz ul Hasan Faiz, former Central Labour Adviser and ILO Consultant moderated the session to review provincial industrial relations bills. The delegates while reviewing the Sindh Industrial Relations Bill 2013 concurred that the legislations would be more of an objective nature with disputes being filtered through arbitration and giving the essence of enforcement through bilateral efforts and arrangements between workers and employers. However, the delegates were also made aware of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEAR) observations on various Industrial Relations legislation and needs to further improve these. Dr Saifullah Chaudhry, Senior Programme Officer ILO said that on the demand of Provincial Labour Departments, EFP and PWF , the ILO has undertaken the initiative to provide technical assistance to the provincial labour departments to bring the labour laws in line with the International Labour Standards. . He further said that improvement in the provincial labour legislation will help the Ministry of Human Resource Development to coordinate the progress and report on the compliance of the ratified ILO conventions to the CEAR. He shared with the workshop participants about the various observations of the ILO Supervisory Body, CEAR, regarding various provincial labour legislations. The workshop participants agreed to expedite the enactment of new child labour law, as the first draft has already been developed with the ILO support in 2012. It was also agreed to develop set of amendments in the existing bonded labour law to make it more effective to eliminate any practices of bonded labour. Participants agreed that the application of labour laws has to be extended to home based workers, peasants, fishing communities and others in the informal sector by giving them the right to form unions. The participants appreciated the fact that the new Sindh Industrial Relations Bill 2013 passed by the outgoing Sindh Assembly has also extended the law to workers in the agricultural and fishing sectors. While reviewing the Apprenticeship Ordinance 1962, Ms Frida Khan, National Project Coordinator, GE4DE said that it was recognised that apprenticeship was the most effective forms of training and national laws and procedures should be reformed to reflect the changing dynamics of modern economies. The workshop concluded with set of amendments to various labour legislations in line with the ratified ILO conventions for the further deliberation and consideration of the respective provincial authorities.
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