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KARACHI: Speakers of an awareness session entitled "Global Framework Agreement (GFA) & Workers' Rights in Supply Chain"; here Friday urged the workers and trade unions to use all available avenues and tools under the GFAs for realization of their rights.

The awareness session was conducted at a local hotel by Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) in collaboration with IndustriAll global union (South Asia Union Building and MNC supply chain project, moderated by HBWWF general secretary Zehra Khan.

Zehra Khan told the audience that GFAs serve to protect the interests of workers across a multinational company's operations. She said GFAs are negotiated on a global level between trade unions and a multinational company.

They put in place the very best standards of trade union rights, health, safety and environmental practices, and quality of work principles across a company's global operations, regardless of whether those standards exist in an individual country. She said IndustriAll prioritize establishing and monitoring GFAs with multinational companies. She said IndusiAll has inked GFAs with dozens of MNCs and some of them have presence in Pakistan.

National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) general secretary Nasir Mansoor said IndustriAll Global Union is the largest organization of trade unions. He said besides there is also ILO that makes conventions to safeguard labour rights. He gave example of European Union's GSP plus facilities for Pakistan, regretting that the government did not fulfill many of its commitments under this accord.

He asked unity and organization amongst workers. He said sadly trade unions are not strong in Pakistan and the employers divide and weaken workers with linguistic and ethnic hatred. He said we should play our role to increase awareness amongst workers.

Sultan Lala of Pakistan Central Mines Labours Federation regretted that hardly one percent of Pakistani workers are unionized. He said if a worker tries to make a union he is expelled from his factory. He urged the trade unions to take care of the interests of workers besides not creating unnecessary issues for the employers.

Sajjad Gardezi of Kohinoor Textiles workers union, Karamat Ali of PILER, Joris Oldenziel Executive Director - International Accord Foundation and others also spoke.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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