Pakistan has a long history in the textile and garment industry, and it is considered one of the most important manufacturing sectors in the economy. The sector employs nearly half of the national labour force, and the ILO has a robust presence in the country.
Despite challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a three-year Better Work pilot programme was launched in 2021 after several years of consultations between Better Work and the tripartite constituents in Pakistan. The barriers preventing travel to the country and holding face-to-face consultations slowed progress, but the programme is now staffed and commencing operations. The Government of Pakistan has agreed to co-fund the three-year pilot programme through the Export Development Fund (EDF). The European Commission and Australia (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT) are also supporting the Better Work Pakistan programme.
In addition to Better Work`s factory-facing work, the government, employer and worker organizations of Pakistan and the Better Work programme have agreed upon several areas of focus to improve the sector’s labour conditions and competitiveness. These include working on the enabling environment for freedom of association and collective bargaining, strengthening labour dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as building general capacity of tripartite constituents with the aim to promote more inclusive social dialogue. The office is based in Karachi.
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