ILO organized a national level training for trade union representatives on ILO C107 and C169 and indigenous and tribal peoples’ (ITPs) issues in Bangladesh on 10th September 2012. 20 representatives from national level trade unions affiliated with National Coordination Committee for Workers Education (NCCWE) and 20 representatives from indigenous and tribal workers’ organizations attended the training.
In the opening session, the chief guest Mr Rashed Khan Menon MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Education and convener of the Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Issues mentioned that, Bangladesh ratified ILO Convention No. 107, immediately after Independence in June 1972, during the time of its Father of the Nation Bhangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman and he hopes the updated ILO Convention 169 will be ratified very soon by the Government of Bangladesh. He added that this training has created a bridge between ITP workers and national level trade union workers to work on indigenous issues and that there should be more exposure and more activities to accelerate the ratification process through the trade unions.
The session was chaired by Mr Gagan Rajbhandari, Deputy Country Director, ILO country office for Bangladesh and Mr Mesbahudin Ahmed, Vice Chairman of NCCWE and Mr Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum were present as special guests.
In his speech Mr Gagan Rajbhandari said that it is the first time that ILO is holding a national level workshop on indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights for trade union representatives in Bangladesh. The workshop has opened a scope to explore possible cooperation’s and linkages between indigenous peoples’ organizations and the trade unions in Bangladesh to promote C169 and Adivasi issues. This will also give a good opportunity to discuss how the trade unions, particularly the NCCWE can play an important role for the ILO C169 ratification.
The technical sessions of the training focused on the role of the trade union in regard to the implementation of Convention 107 and the ratification of Convention 169. Other sessions included a focus on the issues and challenges of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh and their employment status.
During the closing session, the participants mentioned that the participation of government representatives in this workshop is also important to create effective linkage and consultation on the ratification issue between government and trade unions. They hope that ILO will continue the process of training and consultation with tripartite stakeholders on indigenous and tribal people’s issues.