The country’s readymade garment sector workers’ representative has resigned from the tripartite committee formed to review labour rules alleging that the government was protecting the interest of owners in the amendments and ignoring the workers’ proposals.
IndustriALL Bangladesh Council, at a press conference held at the National Press Club on Monday, alleged that its RMG representative in the tripartite committee to review the labour rules Salauddin Shapon resigned on Sunday as he was not invited to the last three committee meetings while another meeting was scheduled to be held on Tuesday.
The labour and employment ministry formed the 10-member tripartite committee on March 19 last year, including three workers’ representatives and representatives of the government and owners.
Labour ministry additional secretary and committee head Rezaul Haque ruled out the allegation made by IBC and said that all members of the committee had been invited to all meetings.
‘We have records in our files. IBC representatives have been invited through notices and emails to attend the meeting,’ he said.
IBC leaders said that keeping the workers’ representative away from the activities was nothing but a plot of the government and factory owners to undermine the rights of the country’s 4.5 million garment workers further through a unilateral revision of the labour rules.
The labour leaders expressed their concerns as the government rushed to make amendments to the labour rules without taking the proposals of the workers into account.
They urged the government not to go for one-sided decisions in amending the labour rules.
‘If the government goes for unilateral amendments to the labour rules, the IBC would announce tougher movements and at the same time, the issue would be raised at international forums,’ IBC vice-president Salauddin Shapon said while reading out a written speech at the press conference.
The government always claims that it is a workerfriendly government but the latest move of the labour ministry to keep the workers’ representative away from labour rules amendment process proves that in the issue of business, the government and factory owners are united, the written speech said.
IBC also alleged that the workers were always repressed as the government and factory owners worked jointly to deprive the labourers of their rights.
IBC president Badruddoza Nijam termed the labour ministry as a ‘guardian-less ministry’ and said that the state minister to the ministry had done no work for the betterment of the country’s workers and had failed to show any patriotism.
He also termed the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments and the Department of Labour under the labour ministry the ‘most corrupt departments’ in the country.
Badruddoza also warned the state minister to the ministry that it would be difficult to tackle the workers if they bypassed the International Labour Organisation conventions and went for one-sided amendments to the labour rules.
Former IBC president Amirul Haque Amin, its general secretary Kamrul Hasan and former general secretaries Towhidur Rahmanand China Rahmanwere present, among others, at the conference.
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