Existing labour law covers legal protection of only 15 per cent of workers and rest of 85 workers, mostly employed in the informal sectors, were kept deprived of the protection of labour law, union organisers and rights activists said on Monday.
National Domestic Woman Workers’ Union on Monday demanded that the government should include the informal sector workers under the coverage of the labour law by amending it.
The NDWWU leaders call on the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to adopt a labour law in light of universal human rights, ILO conventions and Bangladesh constitution to ensure better industrial relations.
They made the remarks while speaking at a press conference organised by NDWWU in cooperation with American Centre for International Labour Solidarity at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.
Trade union leader and NDWWU adviser Abul Hossain said about three crore agriculture workers and about 22-25 lakh domestic workers were kept out of the labour law, which was going to be amended by the government.
He said the labour law should be adopted for protection of rights of all labourers, but ‘our labour law was not formulated on the basis of human rights.’
Abul Hossain quoted a NDWWU survey report conducted on domestic workers that said 97 per cent respondents wanted law to protect their rights, and 59 per cent workers wanted to join trade unions and 96 per cent thought that there should be a minimum wage for domestic workers. .
The survey was conducted on 350 domestic workers in Dhaka and Chittagong in last six months.
NDWWU general secretary Murshida Akhter Nahar, who read out a statement, said the amendment to labour law would fail to develop the industrial relations.
In her welcome address, Dhaka solidarity Centre’s deputy director Kelly M Fay Rodríguez said she was excited to work with the domestic workers.
She also said they would highly appreciate the authorities concerned if they bring the domestic workers under the coverage of the law.
NDWWU president Amena Begum, former president Jahanara Hosain, executive committee chairman Jobaida Pervin and Solidarity Centre’s senior programme officer Lily Gomes were present at the press conference.
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