Quetta :The workshop organized by People Services International (PSI) in collaboration with Workers Education and Research Organization (WERO) on “Applying the ILO Guidelines on Decent Work in Public Emergency Service” aimed to address the critical issues surrounding disaster management in Pakistan.
Purpose of the Workshop: The primary purpose of the workshop was to equip individuals involved in disaster management with the necessary tools and knowledge to provide care and disaster mitigation during public emergencies. Given the rapidly changing socio-economic and environmental conditions, as well as recent natural disasters in Pakistan, the workshop aimed to prepare participants for such calamities, with a focus on mitigating damage and saving lives. Here is a summary of the key points discussed during the workshop:
ILO Guidelines: Mr Mir Zulfiqar highlighted the importance of this training, especially in the context of Pakistan’s economic and environmental conditions. He talked about the ILO document and stated its importance in ensuring worker rights in extremely harsh and unforgiving circumstances. Mr Sultan Khan (Chairperson NCC Pakistan) gave the welcome note. The workshop emphasized the relevance of the International Labor Organization (ILO) guidelines on decent work in public emergency services. Following these guidelines can lead to a more efficient response to disasters, protect workers’ rights, and ensure the safety of both workers and affected communities.
Environmental Context: Mr Qazi Khizar talked about what climate change is, its impact in the Pakistani context and how the effects of disaster can be mitigated. Explaining the history and timeline of how climate change came about, he said it is imperative to have good governance and a competent local body with investments in sustainable technologies and infrastructure.
Fundamental Principles and Rights of Workers (FPRW): Mr Mir Zulfiqar Ali highlighted the importance of FPRW, which includes collective bargaining rights, the elimination of forced and child labor, non-discrimination, and the creation of safe and healthy work environments. Proper training, provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), funding, and staffing for disaster response organizations are essential for the protection of first-line responders.
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH): Mr. Ali Ashraf Naqvi discussed the critical role of OSH in PES, particularly in high-risk disaster management work. He emphasized the need for implementing the three main components of OSH: Occupational Safety, Occupational Health, and Industrial Hygiene, to protect the health and safety of workers.
Means of Ensuring Decent Work: Mr. Qamar-ul-Hasan emphasized social dialogue as a key means of ensuring that the voices of workers are heard. He stressed the importance of routine training, evaluations, and inspections of working conditions for PES workers. Strengthening coordination among different emergency response agencies was also highlighted to ensure a comprehensive and effective response.
Affiliates of PSI addressed the workshop, adding important remarks to the content. Through group activities and question answer sessions this proved to be a fruitful workshop. The group activity cultivated these suggestions:
• All workers should practice right of freedom of association without any condition and restriction
• Labor representatives should also be nominated / elected as members of Provincial and Federal Legislative Assemblies
• All workers in public sector should be engaged on regular basis and there should not be any contract and daily wage workers
• Health and safety of all workers at the workplace should be ensured
• All the Conventions of the ILO should be complied with by the member states.