Quick implementation of domestic workers’ policy demanded

Staff Correspondent
Quick implementation

Guests attend a discussion on Domestic Workers’ Policy Process in Bangladesh jointly organised by RMMRU and DWRN at CIRDAP auditorium in the capital on Monday. — New Age photo

Domestic workers, labour leaders and workers’ rights campaigners called for immediate implementation of the domestic workers’ protection and welfare policy adopted in 2015 with many provisions including wages, minimum age, working hours, leave, rest and recreation, maternity leave and skills training of the workers.
They also called for taking steps by the government to formulate an act in the light of the domestic workers’ policy to ensure their legal rights at workplace.
They made their remarks while speaking at a dissemination workshop on Domestic Workers Policy Process in Bangladesh at the city’s CIRDAP auditorium.
The Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit of Dhaka University and Domestic Workers’ Rights Network (DWRN) organised the day-long workshop.
The workshop was organised to share the findings of a study titled ‘Public Policy Formulation : A Case Study of Domestic Workers in Bangladesh.  ASM Ali Ashraf presented the study findings highlighting the role of NGOs, trade unions, and employers’ representatives in the policy formulation process that was steered by the labour ministry
Labour adviser to Bangladesh Employers’ Federation Kazi Saifuddin Ahmed said that rights of the domestic workers should be ensured by legal process which is absent in the country.
‘A policy for protection and welfare of the domestic workers has been adopted and now it is needed to establish a legal structure based on the policy,’ he said.
Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra general secretary Wazedul Islam Khan said that domestic workers should be organised to ensure their rights.
Besides, steps should be taken to improve skills of the domestic workers, he said.
Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association executive director Salma Ali said that the approved policy on the domestic workers should be utilised by the concerned authorities to help protect their rights.
Due to lack of good governance and transparency, domestic workers were deprived of getting justice, she said.
DWRN member Lutfar Nahar Lota expressing concern said that there were so many cases of oppressions, rapes and physical torture of domestic workers but there was no punishment in a single case.
She demanded the government to incorporate domestic workers’ cases under the speedy court tribunal to stop their harassment.
Dhaka University professor and RMMRU coordinator CR Abrar termed formulation of domestic workers’ policy was a milestone and said that it was now need to recognise works of the domestic workers who were playing significant role in rearing and caring of children at all families.
He suggested educating people about dignity of labour and keeping space for domestic workers at each house while designing and constructing buildings.
Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies assistant executive director Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed said that through approval of the policy the government has admitted the current context of the domestic workers.
It is necessary to implement policy and in the light of the policy a law should be formulated, he said.
Member of parliamentary standing committee on labour and employment ministry, Israfil Alam who was chief guest at the workshop said that the government has adopted the policy for domestic workers in 2015 after a long process of five years.
In the light of the policy, a law will be presented in coming days, he said.
RMMRU chairperson Tasneem Siddiqui presided over the meeting.

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