The Ministry of Commerce also supports the programme, with a significant proportion of our funding being provided from the Export Development Fund. Better Work Pakistan aims to produce measurable results at both the policy and factory level. The programme opened offices in Karachi and Lahore in 2023.
During its three-year pilot phase, the programme is implementing Better Work’s factory engagement model in enterprises in Karachi and Punjab. The programme has already enrolled enterprises across Karachi, Faisalabad and Lahore to support the priorities of the 20 Better Work brand partners sourcing from Pakistan. Better Work’s approach supports Pakistan’s continued compliance with the European Union’s and United States respective Generalized scheme of preferences for trade. Pakistan is in the process of re-application for the next round of GSP+, which will require expanded ratifications and implementation of ILO international labour standards. The four year grace period will provide a unique opportunity to Pakistan to take forward its international commitments and improve compliance.
At legislative and policy level, Better Work Pakistan is working with the federal and provincial governments – in conjunction with the ILO Country Office – to implement the government’s ambitious legislative and policy reform agenda in the key areas of freedom of association, collective bargaining and labour dispute resolution. The establishment of a government working group on freedom of association and collective bargaining is a strong sign of commitment on behalf of the federal and provincial governments to meet international obligations on these vital areas of rights.
The programme has also built an engagement platform with a number of Pakistan’s employer and trade association bodies to engage their members in Better Work and other ILO programming interventions within the sector. Better Work Pakistan also works closely with the European Union funded International Labour and Environmental Standards Application in Pakistan’s SME’s (ILES) project and the World Wide Fund for Nature to provide a diverse offering of support services to the textile and ready-made garment industry.
In addition, the programme engages workers and workers’ representatives in its activities. Workers play an active role in the enterprise level work of Better Work Pakistan, through participation in bipartite committees and groups, trainings and both enterprise self and programme assessments of social compliance.