The country’s farmer leaders on Saturday urged the government to allow millions of self-employed farm workers to form trade unions to protect their rights.
They also demanded introduction of health insurance for farm workers and payment of compensations who suffer losses or get injured while working.
They raised the demands at a roundtable on ‘Ratification and Implementation of ILO Convention 184 on Health and Safety in Agriculture’ organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labourers Federation and National Women Farm Workers Federation at the CIRDAP Auditorium.
Hazera Sultana, MP, was the chief guest and former director general of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute and rice scientists Jiban Krishna Biswas was the chief speaker.
In her keynote paper, NWFWF president Nasrin Sultana said that farm workers had no right to form trade unions as allowed by the country’s labour laws.
‘So we would ask the government to allow farm workers to form trade union,’ she said.
Nasrin also urged the government to ratify and implement ILO Convention 184 and its Recommendation No. 192 to ensure farm labourers wages.
‘Farm workers in Bangladesh face various workplace accidents as well as adverse impacts of pesticides,’ she said.
Muktagacha based Gram Unnayan Sangstha executive director Mohammad Saiduzzaman said, ‘farmers don’t get fair prices for the crops they grow with hard toil.’
He called upon the all farmers to get united to realize fair prices for their produces.
Local government representative from Netrokona Syed Mahbub Majid said that indiscriminate use of pesticides were causing serious problems to farmers and farm labourers.
He stressed the need to provide training to the farmers and the farm workers on how to use pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Jiban Krishna Biswas said that since farmers put in hard labour to grow crops and feed the nation they should be made acquainted with proper use of pesticides.
Women farmers, trade unionists and farm workers from different districts attended the roundtable.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country