Membership applications are streaming in two weeks after our workshop in Lahore in Pakistan, where the joint ETI’s partnered with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and GIZ (Germany’s international development agency) to launch the Local Resources Network!
The workshop brought key stakeholders together to identify opportunities and solutions to challenges in improving labour conditions in Pakistan. The workshop’s 86 participants ranged from High Court judges and government officials to home-based workers, from business consultants and local factory owners to trade unions and academic institutions.
As with all countries, Pakistan has its unique challenges when it comes to ensuring that business enterprises respect human rights in the workplace. The workshop provided great insight as to the complexities of these challenges and provided some specific actions that can beinitiated in order to address them.
The outcomes of the workshop were:
Pakistan’s compliance with human rights standards
As detailed in our country briefing (for members only), there are major challenges it comes to freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour, discrimination, HSE and corruption. In addition, 70% of the workforce are engaged in the informal sector, and are therefore largely not covered by legislation that does exist to protect workers’ rights.While the General Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) programme has created a new platform for stakeholders to drive improvements towards more responsible business practices across social, environmental and governance indicators, progress is slow, and is hampered by legacy issues at institutional, policy and implementation levels.
Unfortunately, many global brands appear to have been frightened off, and it was clear from the warm welcome we received, and the dynamic and forward-looking dialogues we took part in, that stakeholders were keen to engage with business partners to secure solutions to these challenges and to help Pakistani business realise its ambition of becoming a global player in key industries, particularly textiles.
Key messages from panelists:
Next steps for LRN