EU asks Bangladesh to uphold trade union rights
The delegation also asked the Bangladesh government to ratify section 138 of the International Labour Organization Convention where the minimum age of children in hazardous jobs is fixed
A visiting delegation of the European Union has once again asked Bangladesh to implement section 87 of the International Labour Organization Convention that addresses the matter of freedom of association by workers.
They also demanded full implementation of section 98 of the ILO Convention regarding the right to organise and to bargain collectively in Bangladesh.
The European Union' Everything But Arms technical mission raised the issues during a meeting with officials of the commerce and labour ministries at the secretariat on Wednesday.
The delegation also asked the Bangladesh government to ratify section 138 of the International Labour Organization Convention where the minimum age of children in hazardous jobs is fixed.
In reply, labour ministry officials informed the delegation that Bangladesh is working on amending the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act, 2018.
The government has also taken an initiative to revise labour rules, trade union registration, anti-union discrimination and measures to prevent child labour and forced Labour.
Labour Secretary KM Ali Azam said Bangladesh has already amended its labour act twice within the last 11 years to raise its standard to an international level.
The labour secretary also informed the meeting that the government has already been working with different stakeholders to resolve a number of cases filed against apparel workers during the wage hike movement in December last year.
The stakeholders include the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Bangladesh Employers Federation, different workers' unions and federations, and law enforcement agencies.
"We have resolved some of the cases, and the remaining ones will be resolved in the coming days," he told the delegation.
In response, the European Union team demanded the withdrawal of criminal charges filed against the workers.
On a separate note, Commerce Secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin said the European Union Everything But Arms technical mission has been instrumental in contributing to the economy of Bangladesh.
Among others, the European Commission's adviser Nikolaos Zaimis, Policy Officer Alessandro Tonoli, Head of Unit for international issues Lluis Prats, and Head of the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink and trade adviser Abu Syed Belal, attended the meeting.