Industrial Relations and Labour Policy Seminar in Pakistan

Address by JILAF Executive Director Masayuki Shiota

JILAF, together with the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), jointly held an industrial relations and labour policy seminar in Islamabad on August 28–29. The seminar was attended by 67 PWF-affiliated trade union officials (of whom 10 were women), including PWF General Secretary Zahoor Awan, who is also labour director of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

At the opening ceremony, PWF General Secretary Awan expressed his gratitude for the continued cooperation from JILAF and the Japanese government. Referring especially to the subsequent activities of past invitees to Japan, he urged the strengthening of collaboration with JILAF from now on.

Attending on behalf of the Pakistani government, Federal Secretary Junejo Sahib of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development stated, “At present social security is not reaching many informal-sector workers in Pakistan. Our efforts will be made easier if the PWF, as a trade union organization, advances unionization in places that are not visible to us. The government promises to make efforts to introduce a better social security system. I hope that the PWF also will actively give us its opinions. Furthermore, organizational capability can only be improved through the building of constructive industrial relations, so I ask JILAF and the Japanese government for their continued support and guidance.” Representing JILAF, JILAF Executive Director Masayuki Shiota then addressed the participants, stressing that, amid international competition, it was important to enhance the value of labour and to develop human resources for that purpose. He stressed that the soundness and strengthening of workplace-based industrial relations were necessary for social and economic development.

In the opening lecture, JILAF Executive Director Shiota gave an overview of Japan’s constructive industrial relations, efforts to ensure employment stability, and other characteristics. Focusing on the example of labour-management consultations, he shared information on mutual understanding between labour and management with an emphasis on discussion, efforts to improve productivity and tackle business issues, efforts to ensure employment and job stability, and so on. His lecture was followed by a lively question-and-answer session. In addition, JILAF Deputy Secretary General Koji Suzuki gave a report on the transformation of the labour movement in Japan. After giving an overview of efforts to improve wage levels in line with commodity price increases and economic growth (productivity improvement), the flow of the annual spring labour struggle, and so on, he explained about the importance of building constructive industrial relations. His lecture also was followed by a lively question-and-answer session.

In the afternoon of the first day and in the second day of the seminar, PWF General Secretary Awan reported on a policy document relating to the Mazdoor EHSAAS Program, a social security initiative launched by the Pakistani government, that the PWF, upon request from Prime Minister Imran Khan, had compiled and submitted to the government to gauge the feelings of workers and encourage them. PWF General Secretary Awan, who played a leading role in formulating the document, raised the question of why improving social security for informal-sector workers is necessary. As well as reporting on the state of discussions in the prime minister’s advisory committee and economic conditions in Pakistan, he also explained, using data, about the state of informal-sector workers by industry and province and touched on, among other things, the social advancement of women. When PWF General Secretary Awan expressed his hope for further progress here, cheers of support erupted from the audience. This lecture was followed by a lively question-and-answer session with the participants and comments from JILAF.

In the closing ceremony, PWF General Secretary Awan made some wrap-up comments and JILAF Executive Director Shiota remarked, “In response to the technological progress of recent years, it is essential for labour and management to discuss countermeasures together so as to protect jobs. In addition, labour productivity is important to attract foreign investment, so it is vital to urge the government and employers’ organizations to invest in people.”


08/28WedSeminar day 1 (venue: Islamabad)
08/29ThuSeminar day 2 (venue: Islamabad)

Photos of the Participants

Scene of the venue

Scene of the venue

JILAF senior officials and representatives of the PWF and Pakistani government