24 March 2014

Azam & Rai partner participates in Stakeholders' Consultation on reform of labour laws

Sector: Employment & Labour Laws
Azam & Rai partner, R.M.S. Azam, at the invitation of the Labour & Human Resource Department, Government of the Punjab, participated in the Stakeholders' Consultation Session held at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore on 24 March 2014.

At the Session, Mr. Azam represented the Center for Law and Policy, Lahore, which is undertaking the project for consolidation, simplification and rationalization of the labour and employment laws of the Punjab Province and their harmonization with ILO Conventions ratified by Pakistan as part of the Pakistan-EU Trade Project to bring Pakistan's labour laws in conformity with international conventions to enable Pakistan to take advantage of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status, which was accorded to Pakistan for three years by the EU in December 2013. The GSP Plus status will allow almost 20% of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70% at preferential rates, thereby increasing Pakistan's annual exports by around USD $2 billion.

The Stakeholders' Consultation Session was convened as a prelude to the ministerial-level South Asian Labour Conference to be held in Lahore from 24-26 April 2014 under the auspices of the Labour & Human Resource Department, Government of the Punjab, and supported by the Government of Pakistan, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU).

During the Session, Mr. Azam chaired the tripartite Working Group on the "Harmonization of Labour Laws and Policies in line with International Labour Standards" in which representatives from the government, industrial employers and labour trade union representatives gave their recommendations.

Among the attendees at the Stakeholders' Consultation were the Punjab Provincial Minister for Labour & Human Resource, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar; Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs, Mr. Tahir Khalil Sindhu; Parliamentary Secretary on Information, Rana Arshad Mehmood; ILO Country Director in Pakistan, Mr. Francesco d'Ovidio; representative of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Ms. Zoe Leffler; Punjab Assembly members, Ms. Aysha Ghaus Pasha, Ms. Saira Iftikhar and Ms. Aalia Aftab; Secretary, Punjab Labour Department, Mr. Muhammad Yousuf; Commissioner, Punjab Employees Social Security, Mr. Farhan Aziz Khawaja; Provincial Secretaries of Law, Environment and Forestry from the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as industrial employers, labour trade union representatives and other stakeholders.