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July 1, 2015

‘Elimination of child labour makes good business sense’

Business

 
July 1, 2015

LAHORE: The elimination of child labour in the Sialkot soccer ball industry could be a model for the textile industry in particular, and all other industries in general for doing business under the GSP plus status.
The consensus was developed at a roundtable on Tuesday, commemorating the World Day against Child Labour, convened by the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP). Participants included government representatives, workers, employers, and people from different economic sectors who endorsed the Sialkot soccer ball industry child labour elimination model.
The participants also endorsed the application of International Labour Standards (ILS) in supply chains for enhanced productivity and better competitiveness in global markets.
Pakistan’s soccer ball exports crossed $196 million in 2014, which includes the Brazuca Ball which featured prominently at the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
The massive international pressure in the late 90s to ensure ethical production of the soccer balls led to a proactive approach by the industry to not only eliminate child labour from its supply chain, but to observe ILS. This was made possible with the help of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
EFP President Khawaja Nauman asked the business community to emulate the success of the soccer ball industry. “This would convey a robust message to the European Union and other international markets that the Pakistani business community is capable of implementing the ILS,” he said.
Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) President Chaudhry Nasim emphasised the need to strengthen tripartite dialogue to take advantage of the GSP plus. He said that the observance of ILS would ensure a quantum leap in Pakistani exports.
Punjab Labour and Human Resource Department Additional Secretary Mubasshir Hussain said it was the duty of every citizen to send children to school and eliminate all forms of child labour. He shared that Punjab chief minister announced his

intention on May 1, to eliminate child labour from all brick kilns in Punjab over a period of six months. He said the Punjab government had also launched an integrated project for the elimination of child and bonded labour, while promoting decent work. He said that the government of Punjab was committed to provide full support to businesses in complying with the ILS.
Belinda Chanda-Officer in Charge, ILO Pakistan Office said the private sector was a key actor in facilitating the elimination of child labour.
“Pakistan had also witnessed threats and opportunities in its business operating environment in various value chains largely driven by consumer consciousness for ethically produced goods.
Thus, adherence to ILS and the progressive elimination of child labour made good business sense,” she added.