Global buyers and brands on Thursday wanted to know about the progress on the tripartite agreement signed recently between the Bangladesh government, garment factory owners and trade union representatives over release of detained workers and reopening of trade union offices in the Ashulia industrial belt of Dhaka.
At a regular meeting with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, leaders of Buyers’ Forum, a platform of the representatives of global brands and buyers who worked in Bangladesh, said that they wanted to see a quick implementation of the tripartite agreement.
Trade union leaders and garment workers were arrested, fired from job and union offices shut down in the Ashulia industrial area in December 2016 as workers staged demonstration demanding higher minimum wages.
In the face of massive campaign against crackdown on the labour movement, the labour ministry, BGMEA and IndustriAll Bangladesh Council on February 23 reached the tripartite agreement underscoring shared commitments to worker rights and rule of law.
In the agreement, all parties agreed to release detained labour leaders, reopen local trade union offices, pay or reinstate workers who were fired for taking part in protests and cases against the labour leaders and workers would be disposed of.
BGMEA vice-president Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu told New Age that all the detained labour leaders and workers had already been freed on bail and the police were scrutinising merits of the cases filed against the workers’ leaders and workers.
The BGMEA at the meeting informed the Buyers’ Forum that the police would take decision about the fate of the cases, Babu said.
The BGMEA leader said that it was discussed at the meeting that only those trade unions which submit its returns properly should be allowed in the readymade garment sector.
Some other issues including problems related to foreign employees and time-consuming process for getting product samples sent by global buyers were also discussed, he said.
‘As per the meeting, we will go to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority to solve the problems related to foreign employees in Bangladesh,’ Babu said.
He said, ‘It takes two to three days to receive product samples sent by the buyers from the airport and in most cases airport officials demand bribes for delivering the samples.’
The meeting also decided work together to resolve the problem, the BGMEA leader said.
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