PWF contributes to advancing the 2030 Agenda in Pakistan through its promotion of decent work and poverty eradication

The efforts the Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) to enhance the working and living conditions of workers have resulted in significant success stories. These achievements have positively impacted thousands of workers nationwide, underscoring the crucial role of trade unions as key contributors to sustainable development.

Despite resource constraints, PWF tirelessly advocates for fair wages and job security. The federation plays a vital role in ensuring stable income sources for workers. Through this work, the federation directly addresses Goal 1 on poverty eradication by ensuring economic stability for individuals and their families. Furthermore, PWF advocates for social security measures, encompassing health benefits, old-age pensions, and support systems. This safety net prevents individuals from descending into poverty during challenging times. Active promotion of decent work is essential in addressing income inequality and gender equality, as fair wages and equal opportunities contribute to narrowing the wealth gap, ultimately lifting vulnerable populations out of poverty.

“PWF emphasises the importance of affording all individuals, regardless of gender, the chance to escape poverty through dignified work. We need to enhance workers’ skills and employability, contributing to the creation of better job opportunities and addressing the root causes of poverty,” said Dur e Shawar Siraj, PWF Regional Vice President and SARTUC Women Committee Chair.

Despite a very difficult socio-political context, in which many trade union leaders are exposed to life-threatening challenges and very limited resources, PWF manages nevertheless to obtain significant victories on the work floors. For instance, PWF supported Forward Gear, an affiliated union, which managed to reinstate 1400 workers who were laid off during COVID and negotiate a 10 per cent wage increase. This success benefitted not only the 1400 workers who were organised but indirectly impacted 7500 individuals. Another successful example is PWF’s initiative to form the Green Clean Union of Sanitation Workers to promote decent and protect the rights of the 19,000 workers of Lahore Waste Management. The impact of this initiative went beyond the workers themselves, benefitting indirectly over 100,000 family and community members.

“Pakistan is not an easy country for trade unionists, and even less for women union leaders. Nonetheless, we must keep on building a narrative where the empowerment of workers transforms challenges into triumphs, and the eradication of poverty becomes a tangible reality shaped by our unwavering determination,” explained Shawar Siraj.