ISCOS reopens its office in Pakistan and strengthens collaboration with the Pakistani government and trade unions

The reopening of ISCOS’ headquarters in Pakistan was made possible by a new Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Pakistani government, after a five-year absence in the country.

Restarting activities in Pakistan and strengthening collaboration with institutions and trade unions: these were the objectives of the mission that took place last June and brought to Pakistan Paolo Pozzo, president of ISCOS Piemonte, three months after the reopening of the headquarter.

During the mission, Paolo Pozzo participated in the Exchange Seminar between the CSIL’s Trade Unions Institute for Development Co-operation (ISCOS) , the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF ) entitled: "Strengthening Trade Union Strategy and Identifying New Priorities for Trade Unions Cooperation" held on 15 and 16 June 2022 in Islamabad at the ILO headquarters.

At the Seminar problems related to the world of work in Pakistan were analysed and, in the face of local and global challenges, the priorities for the trade union movement and common strategies to be carried out in favour of decent work, through cooperation between Pakistani, European and global confederations were defined.

Starting from an analysis of the state of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)in the country, guidelines have been defined for the future collaboration between ILO, ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) and PWF. The aim is to ensure greater involvement of trade union organisations in consultation activities for the development of local development programs, both at the national level and within international organisations.

The second day of the seminar focused on the presentation of the activities and results of the international cooperation projects underway in Pakistan, focusing on social protection issues and the fight against child labour (especially in brick kilns) in the country and on the governance of migration processes and the protection of migrants. ISCOS, in particular, presented the project "Engaging Pakistani Diaspora in Italy for promoting Decent Work in Pakistan", currently active in several Italian regions to form the Pakistani community in Italy on social and labour rights, through the campaign "Same job, same rights". The project was widely appreciated and laid the foundations for future collaborations.

The project in fact foresees the realization of a final seminar in Rome this autumn, involving the ILO, the Ministry of Labour and Italian Cooperation. ISCOS plans to invite trade unionists, entrepreneurs and institutional representatives from Pakistan to Italy in November. On this occasion, the results of the project will be presented and the theme of the protection of migrants in Italy and the promotion of qualified migration routes will be relaunched, with the aim of securing new projects to be carried out in Pakistan and Italy.

In Pakistan, ISCOS and ILO then defined, together with the Pakistan Worker Federation, common strategies between Pakistani, European and world confederations. The aim is to strengthen trade union rights in the country in favour of workers, increasing the participation of local unions in national and international consultation activities.

Pakistan Workers Federation is the most representative Confederation in Pakistan and a historic partner of ISCOS. The mission was an opportunity to meet the new Secretary General of the PWF, Chaoudry Yassin. Leader of the union of the public employment of the Capital, Yassin has a past as a ground unionist. Thanks to him, meetings were held at the summit level with government institutions, such as the Speaker of the Senate, the second post of the Government, the Minister for relations with Parliament and the Minister of Defense. Several meetings were also held with the national staff of PWF, especially those responsible for cooperation projects and trade union training.

Their main request is the accompaniment of ISCOS in the process of strengthening international relations, both towards the CISL and the International Confederations and towards the ILO and other United Nations agencies and the European Commission. They also call for support in the development and proposal of projects that strengthen local organisations and their activities in the area.