A recent interactive discussion on the value of living wages in Pakistan was organised by Unilever Pakistan in Karachi. Industry executives and organisations that have taken up the objective of giving better livelihoods to their people in Pakistan were present at the round table. Shahzad Roy, a well-known social activist, and Habib Paracha, a famous economist, also participated in the conversation.
The discussion centred on the advantages of fair pay and decent wages for the nation’s economy, communities, and workplaces. A living wage takes into account the many lifestyle requirements of an individual in accordance with their current financial situation so they can maintain a respectable standard of living for themselves and their family. Participants had a forum to discuss their struggles and successes as well as potential avenues for group action during the discussion session.
While the company’s directly employed employees are already well above the living wage, Unilever Pakistan, the strategic alliance’s enabler, has already made significant strides in this direction. The organisation has further shifted 60% of its outer core, which includes an indirect workforce of more than 12,000 people in their business value chain, to an average living wage of PKR 52,000 with the goal of transitioning the remaining 40% by 2025.
“At Unilever, we firmly believe that living wages are crucial for people and businesses, and our vision under ‘Unilever for Pakistan’ is to make living wages a national benchmark,” said Amir Paracha, CEO of Unilever Pakistan. We are honoured to unite organisations dedicated to enhancing the lives and livelihoods of workers across Pakistan through fair wages and who share similar ideals.
The dialogue session took place right after Labour Day and in the midst of a difficult socioeconomic environment, which made it vital. It presented a chance for business leaders to network, share knowledge, and work together to create a society that is more wealthy, sustainable, and inclusive.
Jazz’s CEO, Aamir Ibrahim, workplace fairness and equity are given top priority. Despite facing difficult times, Jazz has taken a number of steps to ensure employee wellbeing, including offering frontline and contractual employees who fall within a certain salary range a one-time inflation adjustment payout of up to PKR 50,000. Additionally, the company has increased the salaries of its support and technical staff by double digits and set a minimum wage of PKR 62,000 for permanent employees. Jazz is dedicated to fostering employee wellbeing and developing a positive workplace culture.
Unilever Pakistan recognises that economic progress is only inclusive and sustainable when workers earn fair wages, in line with its worldwide mission of “Fairer pay for a fairer world.” Partner organisations will benefit from sharing experiences through this strategic alliance, which will enable them to advance living wages as a national standard.