By Siddiqui, Fasihul Karim
Economic Review , Vol. 25, No. 5
The Employers Federation of Pakistan formed in April 1950 is the premier employers organization in Pakistan representing the employers cause in the area of industrial relations at major national and international forums. Over the past 43 years of its existence the EFP has influenced the labour management relations formulation at national level. It has been closely involved in deliberations of all Tripartite Labour Conferences, the National Labour Commission, Standing Labour Committee and the Working Group on Labour formulated by the Government from time to time during more than the last four decades and has effectively put forth the employers cause in all these forums and has made concerted efforts to promote bipartite and tripartite consultations on major national issues. It is by virtue of its relentless struggle to protect the cause of social justice for both the workers and the employers that the successive governments after 1977 have been urged to abstain from giving a labour policy in haste and efforts to evolve a national consensus on an employment-oriented and balanced labour policy suited to the country's socio-economic stage of development has been accentuated.
The Employers Federation of Pakistan has also been making concerted efforts to help the Government in its structural adjustment programme and strategies and has acted as a strong link between the employers and the Government at the national level and with the ILO at the International levels in harnessing various avenues which could create a conducive atmosphere for the SAP to succeed. As an example of this effort, the EFP in collaboration with the ILO, organised a National Seminar in November 1989 on "Rural Employment Promotion through Rural Industrialisation with Special Emphasis on Small Scale Industries". In view of the importance of this subject to structural adjustment strategy in Pakistan, the then Prime Minister herself opened the seminar. The recommendations of the seminar were expeditiously submitted to the Government for their consideration and most of the recommendations of the seminar have been accepted and the Government came out with a package of incentives for rural industrialisation including special facilities for labour intensive industries set up in rural areas.
With the active assistance and cooperation of the Bureau of Employers Activities, the EFP successfully launched the Swedish programme of "Improve Your Business" (IYB) in 1989 with the objective of not only making the existing small and medium size enterprises more viable but also to provide a boost to small businesses for playing an active role in our economic development and increasing employment.
With the support of ILO/LAPTAP, the Federation also established in 1989 a Population Education Unit with the object of motivating the managers and supervisors to inculcate family and population education among industrial workers.
In order to provide effective advisory services to industry/members, the EFP established a Research and Analysis Cell for matters in Industrial Relations and as a result of an extensive research, a "Survey of Terms and Conditions of Employment" in 235 manufacturing and service organisations in Pakistan was conducted in collaboration with ILO and FES in 1992. The survey was an exercise to ascertain the employment levels and working conditions as also the investment and output levels in the surveyed industries. This survey report which was first published in a tabular form as the statistical supplement was later followed with a comprehensive analytical report making policy recommendations. The survey conducted by the Employers Federation of Pakistan is the first compilation of its nature which provided information which could be fruit-fully utilized at the time of collective bargaining and has as a matter of fact been of great support in the process of collective bargaining at the enterprise level to both the employers and the workers. …