A European Commission delegation led by its trade director Ewa Synowiec would sit with senior officials of the Bangladesh government on October 16 to know about the latest reforms Bangladesh has brought in to the labour law and oversee the progress of labour rights situation in line with the International Labour Organisation conventions.
According to senior government officials, the EU mission would collect the information on labour rights situation targeting a follow-up of ‘Everything But Arms’ trade regime.
Bangladesh enjoys generalised system of preference (GSP) benefits in the EU market under the Everything but Arms regime.
Earlier, the EC in a letter informed Bangladesh that one of the objectives of the mission would be to discuss the latest labour law reforms and collect the necessary information to be able to report on developments and progress made on the remaining issues in the forthcoming biennial GSP report for the European Parliament.
It also said, ‘Enhanced engagement with Everything But Arms (EBA) beneficiary countries will be under increased scrutiny this year.’
‘The EC wants to see the full implementation of ILO Convention 87 concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organise and Convention 98 regarding right to organise and to bargain collectively,’ Tapan Kanti Ghosh, additional commerce secretary, told New Age on Thursday.
They also requested Bangladesh to ratify ILO Convention 138 on the minimum age for employment and the issue would be discussed at the meeting, he said.
‘We have already lowered the minimum membership requirement threshold to 20 per cent from 30 per cent for forming trade union but the EC requirement is 10 per cent,’ Tapan said.
He also said that the EC wanted to know the specific information on the termination of workers and criminal cases filed against workers during the labour unrests centring minimum wage hike in December, 2018 and January, 2019.
The EC wants to know about the development on full alignment of the labour law, whether the law is applicable to the export processing zones, and whether labour rules comply with the ILO conventions 87 and 98 related to right to organise and collective bargaining.
It also wants to know about the developments made on protection against acts of anti-union discrimination, transparent process of the registration of trade union, and elimination of child labour.
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