The Green Bangla Garment Workers Federation (GBGWF) has urged the governemnt to make a law to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace and ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190.
Harassment and abuse of women at workplaces is unfortunately a daily occurrence, said the Federation leaders at a women's rally organised in association with the National Workers' Unity Centre in front of the National Press Club on Friday.
Violence and harassment at the workplace make workers more vulnerable, especially those who have fewer opportunities to bargain collectively and where there are no decent job opportunities and workers are paid less and denied access to justice, they said.
Sultana Begum, president of GBGWF, called for a holiday for women on International Women's Day on 8 March. "Why should women work even on Women's Day?" she asked.
"Violence and harassment in the workplace create mental stress, which can cause the workers to lose the will to work. In many cases, there is a significant loss of productivity. As long as women do not get freedom in their workplace, it is equivalent to being kept in chains," Sultana added.
The rally also demanded implemention of the High Court directives to prevent sexual harassment, formation of sexual harassment prevention committee at workplaces and educational institutions, and six months' maternity leave.
Green Bangla Garments Workers' Federation's General Secretary Md Ilias, Joint Secretary Khadija Rahman, Vice-President Selina Hossain, and Organising Secretary Md Farid Uddin, among others, spoke at the rally.