The government is working on a recommendation made by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments to declare the country’s pharmaceuticals and cold storage sectors child labour free.
The DIFE has recently selected the names of the two industrial sectors and recommended that the ministry should take the necessary measures to announce the sectors as child labour free.
The letter said that the highest number of pharmaceutical industries located under 11 regional offices of the DIFE and all the offices had recommended that the sector be announced child labour free.
It also said that the five regional offices had recommended that the cold storage sector should be declared child labour free.
Before making the recommendation, the DIFE offices inspected the factories in the sectors to assess whether there were any child workers there, labour ministry sources said.
The inspection department made its recommendations as it did not find any child workers employed in the factories during inspections, they said.
‘We are working on the recommendations of the DIFE and the ministry would form a committee to inspect the factories of the sectors referred to by the department,’ labour secretary KM Abdus Salam told New Age on Monday.
He said that following the recommendations made by the DIFE, a national monitoring committee would inspect the factories and it would declare different industrial sectors free of child labour gradually.
Earlier, the labour ministry on February 4 declared six industrial sectors free of child labour as part of the government’s initiative to eliminate child labour by 2025.
The sectors are glass, ceramic, ship re-cycling, export-oriented leather and footwear and silk industries.
The government announced two other export sectors — readymade garment and shrimp processing industries — free of child labour in 2015-16.
Bangladesh has been facing pressure for long from the international community, especially the European Union, to make the country’s industrial sector free of child labour to retain the Generalised Scheme of Preferences in the economic bloc.
The European Commission in February 2020 warned Bangladesh of launching the procedure for withdrawal of the GSP if it failed to make sufficient progress on labour standards, including elimination of child labour.
In 2020, the government submitted an action plan to the EU vouching that it would eliminate child labour by 2025 and take other actions on improving labour standards.
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