The Financial Express

Dhaka hurries to amend labour rules, allege workers' representatives

| Updated: October 21, 2020 17:49:01

Dhaka hurries to amend labour rules, allege workers' representatives

The government is in a hurry to amend the labour rules without considering the recommendations of workers' representatives, union leaders alleged on Monday.

They also alleged the tripartite committee under the labour and employment ministry formed to review the rules also did not formally invite the workers' representative from IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) during the last three consecutive meetings and the next meeting is scheduled to be held today (Tuesday).

Protesting such behaviour, Salauddin Shapon, the IBC leader and workers' representative of the country's readymade garment (RMG) sector, has resigned from the tripartite committee.

He submitted his resignation letter on Sunday to the state minister for labour.

The allegations and resignation announcement were made at a press conference held on Monday at the National Press Club in the city.

IBC president Badruddoza Nizam and general secretary Kamrul Hasan, among others, were present at the conference.

The IBC leaders warned of labour movement and taking up the issue with international platforms if the government finalises the rules without their representation and ignoring their recommendations.

The labour and employment ministry formed the tripartite committee last year incorporating two workers' representatives - Industriall Bangladesh Council and Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP) - along with representatives from the government and owners to make necessary changes in the existing rules in line with the 2018 amendments to the labour law.

"The last couple of meetings were important as they were scheduled to finalise the proposed recommendations through discussions," Mr Shapon said.

It is not acceptable to exclude the workers' representative of the review committee from the largest foreign currency earning RMG sector, he noted, citing the reason for his resignation.

IBC leaders at the conference expressed grave concern over the government's hastiness in reviewing the labour rules.

Due to the rush and exclusion of workers' representation, they expressed grave concern that workers might be deprived of their legitimate and internationally-recognised rights.

They also alleged it is part of long-term conspiracy to ignore workers' recommendations and expressed doubt that RMG workers would further be deprived of their rights.

They said they are expecting a neutral role of the government in reviewing the rules.

"But it is absent in the present activities of the government," Mr Shapon alleged.

Citing the provision of service benefit regarding the factory relocation, he alleged through the provision, the government has left millions of workers out too.

The IBC president alleged the ministry has no guardian and it does not take the workers' rights into consideration.

He also alleged the two departments - DoL and DIFE - are the most corrupt organisations under the labour ministry.

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