was founded on 1 May 1982 by a group of concerned individuals from
trade union movement, academia and varied professions. The Institute
started from a small rented office, with simple organizational structure,
informal work procedures and modest funding from the United Workers’
Federation and donations from well-wishers and friends. PILER was
registered under the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration
and Control) Ordinance 1961.
PILER’s research and education programme gradually expanded and in
1988 PILER established a formally designed research and training programme
with regular workshops, courses and advocacy activities through the
funds availed from the Federatie Netherlandse Vakbeweging (FNV), a
Dutch confederation of trade unions sympathetic to workers’ cause
in South Asia. The Netherlands Organisation for International Development
Cooperation (NOVIB) came forward to support PILER’s women and children
workers ‘ programmes. The two other partner organizations that allied
with PILER’s cause and extended institutional and programme support
during the last two decades were the Freres des Hommes (FdH), and
the Stichting de Zaaier.
PILER opened its branch office in Lahore in 1992 to facilitate access
of its education, training and advocacy programmes to the workers
in the provinces of Punjab and NWFP. The year 2000 was a landmark
in the organisation’s institutional history as PILER shifted to its
own custom-designed building constructed on 2,385 square yards of
land. Equipped with a hostel, conference hall, library, board meeting
room, common room and dinning hall, the spacious office—designed by
the PILER’s friend and well-known architect-activist-urban planner
Arif Hasan—was built with the generous financial support from Stichting
De Zaaier, plus a fund pooled in by PILER’s international partners,
local philanthropists, friends and well-wishers.
In 2001, PILER expanded its activities further with financial and
technical support from the European Union (EU). By the end of the
year 2002, PILER had 50 plus staff, including programme and support
staff, undertaking education, training, mobilisation and advocacy
activities in the four provinces, with head office in Karachi and
branch office in Lahore.
PILER’s main institutional and programme support for the year 2003-04
was extended by the FNV-NOVIB up to June this year (2008) under the
project “Promoting Social Justice: Education, Research and Mobilization
for Labour Rights”. In 2002 PILER undertook a project, Empowering
Vulnerable Workers in Pakistan, funded by the European Union Consortium
for a 3-year period (2002-04), which was extended up to March 2006.
March 2005, PILER revised its work plan to return to a much stronger
and original emphasis upon reflection in action by the labour movement.
The thrust of the Work Plan for 2005-2007 was to make a smooth transition
through pre-defined strategies towards a smaller and recast organisation
as a resource centre for the labour movement, offering direct and
indirect support (through education and policy advocacy on labour
and related issues).