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EFP hosts capacity building session for Brick Kilns Owners Association

Representative and strong employers’ organizations are crucial for protecting the interests of their member organizations and promoting decent working conditions in the workplace, as Secretary General Syed Nazar Ali of the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) highlighted during a capacity-building workshop for the office bearers and members of the Brick Kilns Owners Association (BKOAP) Lahore.

This capacity-building workshop was organized by the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) under the bridge project. The EFP Secretary-General emphasized that the primary purpose of employers’ representative organizations is to protect and advocate for the interests of employers through representation at various forums, creating advocacy, lobbying for business-friendly legislation, and providing services to member organizations to address their needs.

Mr. Nazar apprised the members of the significant role EFP plays in promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work to realize decent work as a tool to protect workers’ rights, increase enterprises’ sustainability, and achieve sustainable economic development. He also explained the legal and advisory services offered to members by EFP to promote compliance for better industrial relations.

Muhammad Shoaib Khan Niazi, Chairman of the Brick Kilns Owners Association (BKOA), thanked the Employers Federation of Pakistan for increasing their understanding of the role of employer representative organizations and appreciated the work of EFP in promoting decent work and helping businesses achieve sustainability.

He highlighted that the brick kilns industry provides employment to millions of rural people and is important in driving the rural economy. Still, it is neither recognized nor engaged in any law-making processes. He said that the brick kiln industry faces multiple challenges, including negative perceptions by so-called NGOs, which directly damage the reputation of the brick kiln industry and the country. He pointed out that labour legislations, including social security, are not responsive to this sector and requested EFP to support the preparation of separate legislations for the brick kiln sector based on its nature of work and ground realities.

During the open discussion session, representatives of the Brick Kilns Owners Association (BKOAP) highlighted various challenges the brick kiln sector encountered, including issues with social security payments. Members pointed out that they are prepared to pay contributions provided their workers receive benefits. They emphasized that currently, social security lacks the infrastructure (hospital/dispensary) to provide medical services to workers in the brick kiln sector.

Members also pointed out that they are paying the minimum wage, but the rate fixed for the piece rate is not justified and requires re-fixation based on ground realities. They emphasized that the sector faces a shortage of skilled people, and there are no structured training programs in the brick kiln sector. An overall lack of understanding of labour laws and other issues was also mentioned during the discussion.

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