Centre for Labour Research for promoting fair working conditions in 'platform economy'.

ISLAMABAD -- The Centre for Labour Research organized a stakeholder consultation workshop on Tuesday to promote fair labour practices and decent work in the gig or platform economy.

The centre is working with the Fairwork Foundation, University of Oxford, UK, to promote the rights of platform workers, said a news release received here.

The workshop discussed the current challenges faced by gig workers in Pakistan and explored potential solutions to improve working conditions and create a fairer platform economy by enacting necessary legislation in the form of the Islamabad Capital Territory Platform Workers Protection Bill, 2023.

The participants were briefed that the platform economy grew quickly in Pakistan in recent years. Given Pakistan's youth population (more than 60% under the age of 30) and nearly four million youth entering the working-age population every year, the platform economy can be an engine for employment growth in the country.

There are 0.7 to 1 million location-based platform workers in the country. Lead researcher and founder of the Centre for Labour Research, Iftikhar Ahmad, presented an overview of the platform economy and the need for regulation.

He said platform work could provide easier access to the labour market and employment opportunities for vulnerable groups and those traditionally excluded from the labour market, such as youth, women, and minorities.

The platform workers were currently classified as "independent contractors" and did not have access to any labour rights that are reserved for "workers" under the labour laws, he said, adding that misclassifying those workers had consequences for the workers by restricting access to existing labour and social security rights and leading to worker exploitation.

He also gave a detailed presentation on regulatory best practices for legislation in the platform economy.

This was followed by a comprehensive discussion of the draft legislation that the Centre for Labour Research had been working on for the last one and a half years. If enacted, the legislation would require platforms to provide written employment contracts to their workers, pay a minimum wage, and allow workers to unionize and bargain collectively.

It was further discussed that the legislation also has provisions on occupational safety and health, equal treatment of workers without any...

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