Five workers' rights organisations have placed a seven-point demand including cutting down the immigration cost and called on the government to ensure rights of male and female workers both in home and abroad.
On the occasion of International Migrant Workers' Day on 18 December, Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (BNSK), Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP), Bangladesh Ovibashi Sramik Forum (BOSF), Association for Social Development of Bangladesh (ASDB) and Samajtantrik Sramik Front (SSF) organised a rally, where the demands were placed.
The seven-point demands are – 1. The status of all migrant workers, men and women, should be given priority both at home and abroad.
2. The work of migrant domestic workers must be recognised in accordance with Convention 189 of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The dignity and rights of women domestic workers should be treated as human rights.
3. Working hours of women migrant workers should be 8 hours per day and wages must be doubled for overtime hours
4. All women workers in home and abroad should be paid in accordance with the conventions of the ILO
5. Immigration costs should be lowered immediately through negotiations and bargaining at the government level and it should be paid by the employer.
6. The government and the employer must take all necessary steps to improve the skills of all migrant workers
7. Arrangements for six months leave including maternity pay must be introduced.
The BNSK and other organisations called on the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment to immediately meet the demands.
Top officials of the organisations spoke in the rally, attended by over 2000 migrant workers and their families.
"We need to build a skilled workforce of migrant women workers and ensure special assistance to their needs both at home and abroad. Only then will the income from women migrant workers will increase in the country and Bangladesh will go ahead to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals," said BNSK Executive Director Sumaiya Islam.
BOSF Advisor Abul Hossain said, "If the rights of the migrants are protected, the wheel of the country's economy will further accelerate. Migration of immigrants will be more meaningful if the cost of immigration can be reduced."
OKUP Executive Director Omor Faruk Chowdhury called on the authorities to be sincere in protecting the rights of immigrants.
"Both the country and the people will benefit from it," he added.