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The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ILO sign 2.5 million USD agreement to support improved labour conditions in Bangladesh

Press release | 03 June 2013
The Norwegian Minister for International Development Mr Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office Director Mr Srinivas Reddy signed an agreement today which will see the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs providing NOK 14.5 million (approx. 2.5 million USD) for promoting workers rights and labour relations in export oriented industries in Bangladesh.

The agreement was signed in the presence of the Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Government of Bangladesh Mr Mikail Shipar, representatives from the Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) and the National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE).

ILO Country Director Mr Srinivas Reddy said “ILO welcomes the support of the Norwegian Government which is very timely. This support directly contributes to implementation of one of the commitments, on workers’ education and training of mid level supervisors and managers on occupational safety and health and fundamental principles and rights at work. This commitment was included in the Joint Statement issued by the government, employers and workers organizations on 4 May 2013 following the recent high-level mission led by ILO Deputy Director General Mr Gilbert Houngbo.”

Higher wages and decent working conditions ensures economic and social development."
Mr Heikki E. Holmås, Minister for International Development
The agreement with the ILO is part of the Norwegian Government’s commitment to promote better working conditions in development countries through the ILO. In 2013 the Norwegian Government will double its contribution to the ILO, a concrete follow-up of the Government’s white paper on democracy, fair distribution and growth. “Higher wages and decent working conditions ensures economic and social development”, said Minister for International Development, Mr Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås. “By supporting the ILO’s efforts in Bangladesh we want to make a contribution to improved working conditions and better and fairer wages for Bangladeshi workers.”

The support will facilitate continuous dialogue between workers’ and employers’ organisations and the government and strengthen the tripartite partners’ capacity to support the on-going ILO efforts of the Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work project. The support will also assist in the future implementation of an ILO Better Work programme in Bangladesh.

The first steps of improving working conditions have already been taken through the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety in the Ready-Made Garments Sector and the Joint Statement of Tripartite Partners. These tripartite pledges have laid the foundations for coordinated, time-bound, and sustained measures to advance compliance, safety, and effective implementation of laws and regulations and this Norwegian support facilitates their implementation.

For ILO media enquiries please contact:

Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh, Communications,
Email: / Tel: (+880) 1738937985

For ILO technical enquiries please contact:

Rob Wayss, Chief Technical Advisor, Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Project,
Email: / Tel: (+880) 1755583744

For Royal Norwegian Embassy media enquiries please contact:

Saila Ummee, Communications,
Email: / Tel (+880) 1714068296

For Royal Norwegian Embassy technical enquiries please contact:

Arne Haug, Deputy Head of Mission,
Email: / Tel: (+880) 1711521428