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Emphasis is on inclusive implementation of labour laws: Naeem

LAHORE: Muhammad Naeem Ghaus, Secretary Punjab Labor and Human Resource Development Department, has said that the Department is focusing on facilitating the employers and workers in implementing the over two dozen labor laws. The emphasis is on inclusive facilitation and not forceful implementation of these laws. He was addressing the Tripartite Meeting for Promotion and Creating Awareness of MNE Declaration hosted by Employers Federation of Pakistan in association with ILO in Lahore, says a Press release.
Secretary Punjab Labor added that only a relatively small number of total workers are registered with Punjab Social Security Institution out of 1.20 million registered workers and the challenge is to register more workers. He sought the advice of employers and workers in this respect. He also advocated worker’s unions in the construction and agriculture sectors and desired that Workers Federations should play a pivotal role in mobilizing workers to form unions. He requested employers to ensure that Minimum Wages are paid to their workers and informed that a campaign is being launched to guarantee payment of Minimum Wages.
Malik Tahir Javaid, President EFP, in his welcome address said that the ILO Multinational Enterprises Declaration and its Principles are crucial for better and cordial industrial relations as well as protection of workers. He said that EFP has been the Focal Point for MNED in Pakistan and has organized awareness sessions in all major cities. He appreciated the harmony and coordination between the employers and workers and added that the Workers Employers Bilateral Council of Pakistan (WEBCOP) is a great and unique example of social dialogue between both constituents of ILO. He advised employers to comply with all OSH requirements so that industries and workers are safe and secure.
Majyd Aziz, Former President EFP, stated that Employers and Workers should be prime stakeholders in formulation of the National Industrial Policy because the successful implementation of the policy is only possible if employers and workers are taken on board. He also recommended that the concerned officials of Special Investment Facilitation Council should interact with the ILO constituents especially when the objective is to attract large scale foreign direct investment. He also added that all stakeholders are on the same page regarding compliance of labor laws as well as ILO International Labor and Environment Standards.
He strongly advocated that the incoming government should make it a priority to ratify ILO Convention 155 and Convention 187 that address Occupational Health and Safety, and also ratify Convention 190 which is on Harassment and Violence at Workplace. He further desired that the tripartite stakeholders must ensure that Pakistan becomes a role model for the world in compliance with all ILO Conventions and Labor Standards.
Ch. Saad Nasim, General Secretary Pakistan Workers Federation Punjab, emphasized that the primary objective of MNED is to guarantee the rights and needs of the workers. He complimented EFP for its role in being the Focal Point for MNED and said that the responsibility of being the Focal Point for the next term would be on PWF. He also assured the employers that the PWF would continue to support all efforts of the EFP to ensure industrial peace and develop a win-win situation for all.
Rao Zahid, Deputy Secretary Punjab Labor Department, added that tripartism is the heart of ILO and said that the Federal and Provincial Tripartite Coordination Councils meet regularly to review progress on compliance of labor laws and deliberate on ways and means to guarantee industrial peace. He felicitated EFP and PWF who have made efforts to promote and flourish tripartism.
Dr. Javed Gill made a Powerpoint presentation on MNED and explained in detail the five Principles. He acknowledged the fact that the concept of outsourcing sections of production was initiated by the multinational enterprises since cost of production was much lower through outsourcing. This gave rise to the upsurge in Contract Workers because other industrial units also followed these MNEs. He proposed the inclusion of a grievance mechanism in all entities since this would enable workers too directly, or even anonymously, register their issues with management.
Sidra Sarfaraz from Packages Ltd informed about the Best Practices of the Packages organization. She said that the premier guideline of Babar Ali, Chairman of Packages, is “People well-being and People excellence” and this is sincerely followed and practiced by all in the organization. She said that as a female, she is proud to report that female employees in Packages feel very safe and secure as there is not only equality but the idea of equity is also promoted.
Aima Mehmood, Workers’ nominee on PESSI Governing Body, called for equal opportunity for all genders and demanded that even retired workers should get Social Security benefits. Representatives of different labor unions demanded the application of all labor laws on contract workers too and that workers, whether on contract or in agriculture, must be allowed to form unions. The event was very ably conducted and coordinated by Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum of the EFP Lahore Office.