Norway funds effort to strengthen labour rights, improve occupational health and safety for 4,000 Bangladeshi workers in garment, leather and shrimp sectors

"Decent Work and fair globalization are important and related objectives on the Norwegian Government’s agenda. Everybody must enjoy basic workers’ rights, work in an environment where standards are respected, and receive their share of the wealth created,” stated H. E. Ms Merete Lundemo, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh.

Press release | 16 March 2014

DHAKA (ILO News) - “Decent work and fair globalization are important and related objectives on the Norwegian Government’s agenda. Everybody must enjoy basic workers’ rights, work in an environment where standards are respected, and receive their share of the wealth created,” stated H E Ms Merete Lundemo, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh, at the launch of a major new project and start of a two-day training on Sunday, which aim to promote better compliance with international labour standards, particularly fundamental principles and rights at work. “We want all companies to be familiar with the national law and international standards. Enhancing labour rights and standards will enhance business.”
 
The one-year project entitled, “Promoting Fundamental Rights at Work and Labour Relations in Export Oriented Industries in Bangladesh” is being implemented in the Ready-Made Garment (RMG), shrimp processing, and shoe and leather industries, with US$2.5 million from the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
 
“Managers have a critical role to effectively implement the labour law. Workers and employers should consider themselves as mutual friends. Your joint efforts can contribute to effective implementation of law,” said Mr Khondaker Mostan Hossain, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of Bangladesh.
 
“Diversity and pro-active compliance, especially with the national law, will boost the leather sector in Bangladesh given its value and contribution to the national economy”, said Mr Syed Nasim Manzur, President of the Leathergoods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh. “The sector’s contribution to foreign exchange is now US$1 billion, which can be doubled in next 10 years. The major importers of shoes (the USA and European countries) want to diversify their import-sources. Bangladesh stands with an advantage in this regard.”
 
“This new project aims to build on the existing work by ILO in Bangladesh in the areas of promoting labour rights, supporting dialogue between employers, workers and the government, labour compliance, freedom of association, and collective bargaining,” explained ILO Country Director, Mr Srinivas B Reddy.
 
The two-day training programme, focused on 2013 amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act, is being attended by 64 mid-level managers, human resource managers, and compliance officers from affiliated factories of the Leathergoods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB).
 
The major outcomes of the Norway-funded project are to train up 4,000 workers and employers on fundamental labour rights, their respective obligations, and to enhance the capacity of respective government agencies, industrial relations institutes, and labour courts to contribute to the improvement of occupational health and safety through the implementation of the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety and Integrity of Structure.
 

For further information please contact:

Mr Pierre Beaulne, Senior Communication Officer, ILO Country Office for Bangladesh
Tel.: 01713 239860
Email

Mr Uttam Kumar Das, National Project Officer, ILO Country Office for Bangladesh
Tel.: 01755 647607
Email