The government, garment factory owners and labour leaders on Tuesday agreed not to raise country’s labour problems in the international forums, rather they would resolve the issues through discussion.
At the first meeting of the Tripartite Consultation Committee on RMG sector at the labour ministry conference room, all parties agreed that there were a lot of problems in the sector and the government and factory owners would have to show positive attitude to resolve the issues.
Amid repeated pressure from the international community to resolve the labour issues raised by the International Labour Organisation, the government formed the TCC on RMG sector headed by the state minister for labour Mujibul Haque.
‘It is very unfortunate that labour leaders raised the labour related problems to the international community before informing labour ministry. It is embarrassing for me and the government as well,’ Mujibul Haque said at the meeting.
It might be a reason to inform the labour related problems to the international stakeholders that the labour ministry failed to resolve the problems promptly, he said.
‘The TCC has been formed to resolve all the problems through discussion among three parties and I hope there will be no need for any party to inform labour issues to the international forums,’ the junior minister said.
Nazma Akter, trade union representative to the TCC, urged the labour ministry to handle the labour issues so that no one feels the urgency to inform the problems to the international community.
He said that there was lack of trust between workers and owners in the readymade garment sector.
Nazma requested government to take initiative to address the special paragraph provided by the ILO saying that European Generalised System of Preferences is important for the employment and empowerment of women in Bangladesh.
A comment of the labour secretary Mikhail Shipper created commotion in the meeting as he accused IndustryAll Bangladesh Council for raising the country’s labour related problems to the international community.
Nazma, also a member of the executive committee of IndustryAll Global Union, protested the comment.
Md Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the RMG sector was passing through a tough time as the export growth reduced to 2 per cent in recent time due to various international reasons like Brexit, depreciation of Euro and the presidential election in the US.
He assured that the BGMEA would work together with the government and labour leaders to resolve the labour issues so that any quarter from outside the country does not get any scope to intervene the sector.
Commerce ministry joint secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said that to continue with the EU provided GSP, Bangladesh would have to make visible progress in the area of labour rights issues including amendment of Bangladesh Labour Act, to ease the procedure of trade union registration and equal trade union rights for the workers of EPZs and beyond.
Delwar Hossain Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Labour Federation, said that the government would have to strengthen the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments and the Directorate of Labour to address the labour issues properly.
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