Impressed by Sialkot plan, Sindh vows workers’ welfare

A 30-member delegation including the advisors to Sindh chief minister, provincial ministers, parliamentarians, senior officials of Sindh and Punjab governments took keen interest in a project being carried out in Sialkot for the welfare of female home-based workers.
“The Sindh government has shown keen interest in launching the programme to ensure capacity-building of home-based workers with provision of better working opportunities, training, access to the markets and reasonable salaries,” said Asghar Ali Khan Jonejo, the advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Labour, who was leading the delegation of Sindh parliamentarians.
The government would soon start the comprehensive project for the welfare of HBWs in Sindh province as a model project was being successfully executing by the International Labour Organisation in Sialkot- as well. Earlier, ILO was implementing the programme in active collaboration with Sialkot business community, an NGO and all the other stakeholders.  Training and capacity building of 100 jobless females in Sialkot’s three village Roras, Mehadpur and Korowal is underway under the plan.
Along with ILO Islamabad officials, the delegation visited various spots in Sialkot and talked to the female home-based workers. They tried to know their confronting problems and amicable solution. They witnessed the ILO model programme and praised it.  On the occasion, ILO officials said that it would ensure maximum empowerment of HBWs through training and capacity building.
Later, a meeting held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry stressed early policy-making and legislation for the welfare of home-based workers, and urged the government to ensure their capacity-building, provision of better working opportunities and training regarding the advanced technologies.
The ILO officials stressed a need for establishment of strong linkages between HMWs and job providers.
The house was told a study had been conducted on the problems of home-based women workers and that according to the study report, these jobless HBWs only know a single skill of stitching footballs with hands at their homes and now the manufacturing of machine-stitched footballs was on peak in factories.
On the occasion, SCCI President Dr Sarfraz Bashir suggested that there is an urgent need for developing a comprehensive system for  registration of  all the home-based workers at district, provincial and national levels bringing into existence their accurate and authentic database.
He added that if training on alternate income generating skills is provided, resources are provided for development of entrepreneurship and linkages needed for access to market are provided the knowledge about all of these resources is built in the workers, the lot of these workers can tangibly be improved. The meeting declared that the HBWs are the asset of the country.
Addressing the participants, Arshad Mirza demanded that amendments should be introduced in the Social Security Ordinance to provide similar facilities of social security for the workers in informal sector as are being given to the workers in the formal sector of economy.
The stakeholders also urged Punjab and the Sindh governments to play their role in assuring the well-being of the vulnerable workforce. They asked the workers to organise themselves in groups to get benefit from the social security.
In Sialkot, 16,000 female home based workers had been made jobless due to growing trend of manufacturing of foot balls, they said and pointed out that the 16,000 jobless female workers were willing to indulge themselves into other jobs or to run their own small businesses but they could not do it because of having no skills and no capacity of doing other jobs rather than stitching. They called for making some effective and urgent joint efforts for their skill-development and capacity building.

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