The government on Sunday formed a high-powered committee to finalise the draft of amendments to Bangladesh labour act and EPZ labour laws as per the condition given at a conference of the International Labour Organisation last month.
The committee would co-ordinate the activities of two separate technical committees which are working to prepare the initial draft amendments to the BLA and EPZ labour laws, a high official of the government told New Age following a meeting on time-bound action plan to address the ILO concerns over labour rights at Bangladesh secretariat in the city.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, law minister Anisul Huq, state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque, prime minister’s principal secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, senior secretary to prime minister’s office Suraiya Begum, senior secretary to legislative and parliamentary affairs ministry Mohammad Shahidul Haque, commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose, labour secretary Mikail Shipar, senior officials of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority and Bangladesh Export processing Zones Authority and representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association attended the meeting.
‘We have formed a committee led by the PMO’s principal secretary to ensure the amendments to the BLA and EPZ labour laws within the promised time as we made commitment to the ILC last month that the draft of the amendments would be sent to the ILO by August 31,’ commerce minister Tofail Ahmed told reporters following the meeting.
He said that law minister Anisul Huq made commitment in the last ILC in Geneva that Bangladesh would address all the labour rights related concerns raised by the ILO.
The meeting decided to fulfil the commitment in time, Tofail said.
According to the minister, the draft of amendments to the BLA and EPZ labour laws would be finalised by August and the drafts would be adopted by November 30.
In the International Labour Conference 2015, the ILO had a special paragraph on Bangladesh recommending amendments to the labour act to address the issues relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
It also suggested that labour organisations in the export processing zones should be allowed to form or join labour organisations outside the zones and all acts of anti-union discrimination should be investigated.
At the last ILC in June, the government submitted time-bound action plan and promised to produce the draft of the revised EPZ law before an International
Labour Organisation committee by the end of November and that of the revised labour law by the end of December this year with necessary changes in the laws in line with the recommendations of the ILO.
Bangladesh had also promised that a draft of the new EPZ legislation would be shared by November 2017 after consultation with the ILO.
The 106th ILC held in June 4-14, recommended Bangladesh to bring the BLA and Labour Rules in conformity with the provision of the ILO convention regarding freedom of association.
It also suggested to allow freedom of association for workers organisations in the EPZ labour laws and to investigate all the alleged acts of anti-union discrimination without any delay.
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