The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed a partnership agreement to improve industrial relations through training and compliance in order to promote the garment and textile sector in Faisalabad.
As part of the agreement, Pakistan will adhere to international labor standards for occupational safety and health, wages, nature of employment, discrimination, and will also endeavor to strengthen employers’ and workers’ organizations in the industry, according to Pakistan’s The Nation.
ILO country director for Pakistan Francesco d’Ovidio said issues in the country’s garment sector are “systemic” and require action in order for Pakistan to develop effective industrial relations.
With ethical sourcing and compliance increasingly at the forefront of concerns for both buyers and consumers, successful foreign trade demands meeting international standards for labor conditions.
PTEA chairman Sohail Pasha said, “We are pleased in collaborating with ILO for improvement of working conditions and implementation of international labor standards in textile industries. We see the cooperation as a great opportunity to further strengthen our work towards the establishment of well-functioning industrial units to increase sectoral productivity and competitiveness and reap the benefits of GSP Plus,” The Nation reported.
Pakistan was granted GSP Plus from Europe in December 2013, and the new ILO collaboration is expected to aid the country in benefitting from the trade privilege by improving its image as that of having responsible, compliant workplaces. The country’s Secretary of Labor and Human Resources Punjab, Ishrat Ali, said effective and systematic labor inspections will be put in place to support the sector.
Representatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations are supporting the partnership and stressed the importance of establishing a coordination mechanism between textile industries, worker organizations and labor departments on compliance and reporting on labor laws.
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, said last week as part of its new textile policy for 2014-2019, the country is committed to doubling its textile exports to 26 billion by 2019, and added that the partnership with the ILO would help maintain GSP plus status and enhance business productivity and sustainability.