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FAISALABAD: Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association has observed that the report of NTUF is aimed at damaging the Pakistan’s value-added textile industry’s strong international repute following the extension in Pakistan’s GSP plus status by the EU countries.

Expressing the serious concern over the unjustified claims of Labour Behind the Label and the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) PHMA central chairman Nahid Abbas, north zone chairman Farrukh Iqbal, senior vice chairman Amanullah Khan and vice chairman Khawaja Musharaf Iqbal condemned them, saying their sole objective is hindering local industry’s operations and restricting the employment generation in Pakistan through industrialization.

PHMA central chairman Nahid Abbas said that Pakistan apparel industry is fully compliant with all international and national requirements on labour rights given the rising demand for compliance with regulations from global buyers.

He said that industry promotes an inclusive workforce and women’s safety through reconnect programs, dedicated technical training schools, and increasing women’s mobility.

North zone chairman Farrukh Iqbal said that the report highlights the impact of Pakistan’s ongoing economic crisis on textile sector workers. Pakistan is currently experiencing economic turmoil with poverty rate rising to 37% in 2023. This upheaval has hit the textile and garment industry workers the most.

Senior vice chairman Amanullah Khan stated that the PHMA along with the whole textile industry and exporters have been at the forefront of advocating for the livelihoods of their workers, as the industry has been faced with challenges such as exorbitant energy costs and rampant inflation leading to a full-blown crisis in the industry.

Textile exports declined from an all-time high of $19.3 billion to $16.5 billion in FY23, and we are expecting a further decline to $14.8 billion if current conditions prevail.

He said that it is always the workers who bear the brunt of such crises, and we continue to advocate for their interests by demanding reform in key economic policies so that factories can get running again and workers can start earning again.

Khawaja Musharaf Iqbal said that the textile industry stringently complies with all minimum wage standards as mandated by the government’s recent notification on minimum rates of wages.

Child labour is strictly prohibited and well monitored, and providing a safe and dignified working environment to all industry workers is a top priority.

PHMA leaders said that collective bargaining and freedom of association are encouraged at all levels. Compliance on these issues is in fact mandatory for all Pakistani exporters in order for them to sell their products in the international market.

It is further evidenced by a range of certifications, such as WRAP, BSCI, and Fair Trade, approved by international certification bodies to the companies based on valid and credible reporting and auditing mechanisms.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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