ILO reaffirms support to govt on social justice

ISLAMABAD:The International Labor Organisation ( ILO) Country Director on Friday called on Minister of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sajid Hussain Turi to reaffirm support to social justice for all.

In an introductory meeting with the Minister of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD), Country Director of ILO, Mr Geir T. Tonstol reaffirmed ILO’s continuous support and assistance to the Ministry and ILO’s constituents in Pakistan.

Sajid Hussain Turi, Federal Minister for OPHRD, welcomed the ILO Country Director to Pakistan. Minister Turi applauded the ILO for its continuous support to the Ministry and more recently for the partnership in initiating the rapid infrastructure rehabilitation projects in Sindh and Baluchistan.

Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and human resource development emphasised that these projects have seen promising results that are scalable and requested the ILO to expand these to other parts of the Country.

He also emphasised the need to work for workers in industrial zones, ensuring access to rights including health and education for their dependents. He said that the Ministry is also negotiating fair recruitment processes and better working conditions and terms of employment for professional workers categories through agreements with a number of countries in the UAE and Asian Countries in the South and South-East, said in a statement issued here on Friday.

Sajid Hussain Turi mentioned that areas of Erstwhile FATA and now the merged KP districts have a large workforce deprived of social security benefits, he apprised the ILO team that through the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, the Ministry is ensuring benefits are extended to workers in these districts. Further, the Minister also talked about the need to promote Occupational Safety and Health in Mines Sector which sees many OSH hazards and accidents. He emphasised on the need to empower women in tribal areas through social integration keeping intact tribal and indigenous norms. A joint meeting may be convened in the coming weeks with other UN agencies working in the area of women's economic empowerment.

Another area of collaboration discussed was the enforcement of Minimum Wages.

Mr Geir Tonstol has served at the ILO Head Office in Geneva with the ILO DG’s team and in Africa before then. Assuming his office as Director ILO CO Islamabad, Mr Tonstol prioritises ILO’s focus on mobilising partnerships to advance ILO’s vision on social justice for a just transition for all. Among his priorities is also to strengthen the relationship with constituents in Pakistan and reinforcing ILO’s technical expertise and niche in the area of decent work for all focusing promotion of International Labour Standards, Social Dialogue, Social Protection and Skills and Employment. Mr Tonstol also mentioned that the launch of the Decent Work Country Programme IV, the five-year plan that the constituents of Pakistan will sign off in the coming months will fortify existing partnerships and provide opportunities to work on these priorities including support to the Ministry on a World of Work strategy to respond to situations of crisis.