Office Pakistan

P.O. Box 1289
Islamabad, Pakistan

Phone +92-51-2803391-4
Fax +92-51-2803395


Contact for Social Justice & Trade Unions work

Abdul Qadir
Programme Coordinator & Advisor


Social Justice & Trade Unions

FES, with its roots and history in striving for social justice, considers independent workers organisations and trade unions as among its conventional and closest cooperation partner both at national and international levels for the promotion of workers’ rights as enshrined in the national and international constitution, laws and conventions.

The onset of globalisation and the adoption of economic liberalization policies in Pakistan adversely impacted the labour force and workers’ rights situation. Privatisation and downsizing drastically reduced jobs in public sector as in-formalisation gained momentum. Enterprises in special economic zones were exempted from observing labour laws. Pressures of competitiveness lowered tariffs on imports pushed enterprises to compensate lower earning by reducing wages, shifting to capital-intensive or sub-contract production modes. Consequently, opportunities for decent employment rapidly shrank and wage inequalities grew resulting in a rising share of informal and vulnerable employment in the labour market. In response to the indecent working conditions in informal part of the economy activities workers have started organising themselves in the form of social and workers movements, associations and networks during the last decade. Mainstream trade union centres too put their attentions to organise the unorganised sectors. These processes and initiatives require support for professional strengthening and sustaining their struggles as membership based organisations. Women workers’ group require special attention to transform workers’ movement dynamic and stronger.

Building on these developments FES extends its support in the form of training, capacity building and advocacy programmes of the workers organisations in the informal economy to organise workers as well to support their cause for implementation of minimum wage, social security provisions and to remove anti-labour practices. In the organised sectors FES continues to support trade union education and training programmes for strengthening the functional capacities of unions to effectively represent, advocate and campaign for the interests of its members as well as for reforms and implementation of labour polices and laws.

The devolution scheme under the 18th Constitutional Amendment transferred the subject of labour to provinces in 2011. Consequently 5 labour jurisdictions came into being bringing challenges of non-uniformity and misalignment with the international standards and convents. FES future programmes are focussed on promoting the dialogue among social partners along with active involvement of relevant policy maker and governmental institutions for reforming the anomalies and inconsistencies in labour legislations and policies to improve compliance with the ratified standards and constitutional guarantees.