International Labour Day 2023 , Message of Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director of ILO Bangladesh

Statement | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 01 May 2023
Today, on May 1st, we celebrate International Labour Day which serves as an important reminder to recognize the value of labour and the contribution of workers in building our global and local communities.

This cannot be done without reflecting on the unprecedented challenges in the world of work over the past couple of years, including the Covid-19 pandemic which left millions of men and women without a livelihood. The process of building back stronger through a human centered recovery has been done with significant commitment from governments worldwide, including Bangladesh.

However, the continued fiscal crisis is impacting the micro-economic recovery and risking increased levels of poverty, increased child labour and the general decline of decent work – ultimately impacting the very people that drive our continued prosperity in workplaces around the country. It is therefore more important than ever to have inclusive, equitable and resilient growth to ensure that everyone benefits from the country’s development and that no one is left behind. In this regard the government of Bangladesh deserves due recognition for the work already done to improve working conditions, developing social protections systems and decent work, including in the past decade since the Rana Plaza incident.

As the country now moves towards graduating from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2026 we are living a historic moment which should be used to propel sustainable development. This requires meaningful participation and cooperation of government, employers, and workers at all levels to strengthen regulation and accountability in labour market governance, industrial safety, and labour migration. It cannot be comprehensively achieved without women’s empowerment, disability inclusion and access to social safety nets. Finally, Bangladesh require investment in market-driven skills development to prepare men and women for domestic and overseas job markets in the era of the 4th industrial revolution.

As a close partner to Bangladesh, and in alignment with national development plans, ILO will continue to support this development. We are guided by our joint commitment to fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of child- and forced labour, discrimination in respect of employment and occupation and safety and health at work.