SAA-CIWCE, GIZ Pak initiate campaign to promote health textile industry


Saeed Ahmed Awan Center for Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (SAA-IWCE)with support of GIZ Pakistan has initiated a social and behaviour change communication campaign to promote the health and safety culture in textile industry of Pakistan.

The targeted campaign includes stakeholders of Ministry of Commerce Government of Pakistan, Labour and Human Resource Department Government of Punjab and other notable public and private organizations that are working to support improving health and safety standards at textile industry of Pakistan.

Textile sector of Pakistan is backbone for Pakistan’s economy as it contributes billions of dollars in exports and employs millions of workers. Improving labour standards in this crucial sector is linked to productivity, economy and welfare and truly to the core national and economic interests of the country. Occupational Health and Safety, is one such area, which promises better working conditions to millions of workers of the textile sector.

An event was organized that gathered stakeholders from government, textile, industry, donor community, NGO and private sector to express their commitment for improving occupational health and safety standards in the textile sector of Pakistan particularly in the areas of heat stress and ergonomics, both of which are extremely relevant to the sector and the country. Ergonomics and heat stress van both cause health issues, disabilities and in extreme cases the life of workers given the prevention steps are not followed.

Like for any other issue, the compliance of OSH is conditioned to priority at all levelsi.e. policy, management and worker level.

This is why representatives from all the levels were present in the ceremony and emphasized the importance of working together as only meaningful collaboration can improve the conditions at scale.

Textile sector is huge in terms of people it represents. The formal and informal sector both have an important role to play in addressing issues pertaining to ergonomics and heat stress. For the export led sector, many factories already have solid compliance practices in place because of international contractual modalities.

A sense of priority however is needed amongst the non-exporting units through a campaign that represents their aspirations and concerns.

Pakistan is a beneficiary of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) trade. The existing arrangement of GSP Plus would come to an end in 2023 and Pakistan will have to re-apply for securing the next phase of GSP status for 10 years by implementing a total of 27 international conventions. This campaign will go a long way in ensuring that Pakistan meets the requirements of GSP plus when it applies for it next.

The campaign represented Ministry of commerce and industry, Department of Labour and Human Resource, Saeed Ahmad Awan Center for Improvement of Working Conditions (SAA-CIWCE), German Economic Cooperation, GIZ Pakistan, Textile Industry Sustainability Forum and private sector are partners in this campaign. The implementing partners include Center for Communications Programs Pakistan (CCPP) and CommwithUs Belgium.