Thursday June 13, 2024

Increasing representation of women in trade unions, federations stressed

By Rasheed Khalid
December 08, 2022

Islamabad : Women participation in workforce is rising with diverse employment opportunities, but there still remains the need to increase awareness on employment opportunities, knowledge of laws and increasing representation of women in federations and unions, said Zahida Parveen Mughal, Secretary for Women Workers Alliance.

Ms Mughal was speaking on third day of Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and jointly held alongside UNESCAP's 6th South and Southwest Asia High-level Political Forum and Policy Dialogue on SDGs here Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rabia Razzaque from International Labour Organisation (ILO-Pakistan) said that social dialogue is an end and means to an end in itself to improve decent work conditions for women. Rubina Jamil, general secretary of All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), blamed the absence of trade unions for poor communication between employees and employers thus leading to poor workplace conditions. She pointed out that the European Union (EU) guidelines pertaining to women under GSP+ are not being implemented despite female labour dominating garments and textile sector. We will have to take Chambers of Commerce & Industry on board on this issue to ensure rights of women workers,” she said adding that the government, trade unions and civil society will have to work together to promote the rights of labourers.

Khalid Mehmood, a labour court lawyer, said the country lacks an enabling environment for masses to organise themselves at different levels, thus hindering social dialogue. He stressed the need for strengthening democratic norms for holding an effective social dialogue. Syed Nazar Ali, secretary-general of Employer’s Federation of Pakistan (EFP) said social dialogue is the key to consensus development, which is possible by promoting democratic norms and freedom of expression.

Noor Zaman, the chairperson, National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC), said that the establishment of work council is mandatory as per law and is crucial in the absence of trade unions. He further said that NIRC is working to come up with legislation to ensure decent work and ensure registration of informal sector. He stressed the need for ensuring female representation in trade unions.

Saad Muhammad, Deputy General Secretary of Pakistan Workers Federation, stressed the need for strengthening youth representation in trade unions. He said that lack of awareness among youths on workers’ laws and forums must be focused. He suggested that basic labour laws should be incorporated in the curriculum to improve understanding and awareness.