The government has finalised draft responses to the complaints raised by a number of countries against the Bangladesh government about violation of ILO conventions at the International Labour Conference on June 20 this year.
Senior government officials said that labour ministry, law ministry and other stakeholders jointly finalised the draft responses to the complaints to avert formation of a commission of inquiry against the country.
According to the draft responses, the government would assure the International Labour Organisation of taking necessary steps for gradual reform in the country’s labour sector.
A labour ministry official said that they had prepared the draft responses and those would be finalised before March next year.
The responses would be sent to the ILO before its next governing body meeting to be held in March, 2020, he said.
At the concluding session of International Labour Conference held in Geneva of Switzerland, worker delegates of Italy, Pakistan, South Africa, Brazil and Japan proposed forming a commission of inquiry against Bangladesh saying that the country was not following the ILO convention 87 on freedom of association and right to organise, the convention 98 on right to organise and bargain collectively and the convention 81 on labour inspection.
Regarding the labour rights issue, the government in the draft responses said that a number of amendments to labour laws were made on the basis of tripartite consensus and in this process the ILO was actively involved.
Special importance was given to ensure workers’ welfare, rights and safety, industrial safety and expansion of the industry, transparency in trade union registration and wage payment system, and promoting trade unionism and collective bargaining, it said.
Responding allegation of imposing burdensome conditions on trade union registration, the government said the trade union registration process was clearly spelled out in the law and there was no case of arbitrary refusal.
Regarding trade union rights for the workers in export processing zones, it said that the EPZ workers had the rights of forming Workers Welfare Association and the rights of collective bargaining in line with the ILO conventions 87 and 98.
It said the EPZ workers were more protected and facilitated as well as getting more benefits under the existing EPZ laws, rules and regulations and provisions.
Regarding the observation of ILO delegates on convention 98, the government in the draft responses claimed that collective bargaining agents were actively performing their activities in the EPZs with full freedom and in last five years WWAs within the EPZs had submitted 521 charters of demand and all of which had been negotiated successfully.
Regarding criminal charges brought against workers and worker leaders in 2016 and 2018, the government in the draft responses said that the issue of 2016 and 2018-19 was different.
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