The government has decided to bring factories in the country’s Export Processing Zones within the purview of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments under the labour law.
Against the backdrop of continuous pressure from the International Labour Organisation and the sustainability compact partners, the government has taken the move to allow labour inspection in conformity with the labour law in factories located in the EPZs.
The government has also decided to ease the worker representation requirement for trade union registration to 20 per cent from the existing 30 per cent for the factories in and out of the EPZs, state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque said on Tuesday.
An ILO expert committee in February this year urged the government to make the draft of Export Processing Zones Labour Act in line with the ILO conventions to provide equal rights of freedom of association to all workers and bring the EPZs within the purview of the labour inspectorate.
The ILO requested the government to take necessary measures to bring the EPZs within the purview of the labour ministry and the labour inspectorate.
Mentioning the 27 issues that are critical for freedom of association, the ILO committee suggested the government to repeal or substantially amend the provisions to ensure compatibility of the draft EPZ labour act with the ILO convention 87 and 98.
The government is currently working for further amendment of Bangladesh labour act as well as to improve the draft EPZ labour act, the junior minister said while addressing a CPD dialogue in the city.
Mujibul said that after wide-ranging consultations with social partners, the decision was taken recently to reduce the minimum worker representation requirement for trade union registration.
He said that the threshold in the EPZs would also be 20 per cent.
‘We have recently decided to incorporation the provisions for labour inspection in the EPZs by the inspector general along with other inspectors under the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 with the existing robust inspection system of BEPZA,’ he said.
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