Last year, Bangladesh adopted a National Action Plan (2021-2026) on the labour sector. The Plan is closely linked to the roadmap submitted by the government of Bangladesh to the ILO Governing Body as the result of an Article 26 complaint. The roadmap aims to improve the country’s observance of labour rights including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
The ILO continues to support the government and the constituents in Bangladesh with the implementation of these two documents and reform processes, which form part of a body of work that has been ongoing since the collapse of Rana Plaza, nine years ago.
A comprehensive reform process has unfolded which looks into the amendments of particular laws, as well as the quality and implementation of these laws through establishing quality institutions of work, such as the labour inspectorate, dispute resolution processes and the labour courts. Strong tripartite mechanisms to inform these processes have increasingly taken form.
“It is very important that the government, workers’ and employers’ organizations have a common vision of this work, and equal access and opportunity to inform the legal process behind the reforms,”said the Country Director to the EP Committee on International Trade.
The ILO has seen a tremendous impact of COVID-19, and there is a continuing necessity to address child labour and informality of work in Bangladesh. Bangladesh ratified the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, and the Minimum Age Convention (C138) in January and March 2022 respectively, and has now ratified all ILO Fundamental instruments. Mr Poutiainen welcomed these ratifications, and indicated that the ILO will continue to assist the government of Bangladesh with their implementation.
He noted that there has been a considerable advancement on occupational safety and health at work (OSH), particularly in the garment sector, but it is necessary to bring OSH to all sectors, including the industrial sectors and SMEs, as there continue to be issues related to accidents at work.
The government has increased social protection for workers and established an employment injury system, which will bring a contemporary protection for workers when they face an accident at work.
“While the reforms are advancing and there is a strong commitment from the government and the constituents, it is important to continue to have clear timelines and activities to move forward with these reforms,”he concluded.