Bangladeshi garment workers employed in Jordan and Mauritius were deprived of their rights at workplaces, said returnee workers, rights activists and experts.
Speaking at a two-day workshop that ended on Wednesday, they said that the Bangladeshi garments workers were paid lower wages, compelled to work overtime hours without pay, provided inadequate food and also shabby living rooms in destination countries.
They also complained that the garment workers were deprived of legal support, health care and occupational safety.
Awaj Foundation organised the workshop on ‘workers’ perspective on working and living condition in the garment work abroad’ at a Dhaka hotel.
Returnee garment worker Rojina Akhter, of Barisal, who was employed in Mauritius, told the workshop that she got the job by paying Tk 30,000 to the broker.
After landing in the country, she got a job in a garment factory but was paid about Tk 10,000 per month, she said.
‘Though I was forced to work two hours’ overtime daily but the management did not pay me for the extra hours,’ she said.
Happy Akter, of Habiganj, who returned from Jordan, said that she had to pay Tk 50,000 to the broker for getting an apparel job in Jordan.
As a senior operator in a Jordanian garment factory, she was given a monthly wage of Tk 18,000 but the food provided by the factory was not good for consumption, she said.
Besides, 12 workers were forced to live in a room with six beds, she said. Awaj Foundation general secretary Najma Akter urged the government to take up the issues to the authorities of the destination countries to solve the problems.
Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister Nurul Islam, who attended the concluding session as chief guest, urged all stakeholders to make concerted efforts to create a sustainable and safe migration from Bangladesh.
He said that a good part of the country’s women workers going abroad were employed in apparel companies and the government was trying to solve their problems with help of the International Labour Organisation and other stakeholders.
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