A total of 2.96 lakh violations of labour laws were recorded in workplaces across the country in 2016-18 with the highest number of breaches occurring over employment and service condition rules.
The violations were revealed in the National Occupational Safety and Health Profile prepared for better understanding the country’s occupational safety and health situation.
State minister for labour Monnujan Sufian approved the OSH profile at a meeting of the National Council for Industrial Health and Safety at the Secretariat in Dhaka last week.
At the meeting, she said that the profile would act as a basis for analysing the current OSH situation in the country and developing a national plan of action for better OSH management in the coming days.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments carried out OSH inspections in 1.03 lakh establishments during the three-year period.
The second highest number of violations, the department recorded, were over the rules about working hours and leave in industrial units, shops and other establishments.
Of the total rule violations during the period, 26 per cent were related to employment and service conditions, 19 per cent to working hours and leave, 12 per cent to occupational safety and 10 per cent to occupational health.
All 23 DIFE district offices around the country carried out inspections and detected the labour-law violations using a standard checklist, the OSH profile said.
The profile classified the violations under 13 categories.
They were: recruitment and job conditions, children and adolescent workers, maternity welfare benefits, occupational health, occupational safety, occupational accidents, compensation and safety committee, welfare measures, working hours and holidays, payment of wages, social security (group insurance, provident fund and profit sharing) discrimination and violence at workplaces.
When asked, Bangladesh Trade Union Centre general secretary Wajed-ul Islam Khan on Sunday told New Age that workers in factories and other establishments across the country were being deprived of their rights for lack of proper enforcement of the labour laws.
Demanding implementation of the labour laws he said that the government should ensure punishment for the owners who would violate the laws in workplace.
According to the OSH profile, the DIFE filed cases for the violations that were not corrected by the employers after receiving notices and time for rectification.
According to the profile, a total of 946 cases were filed in the financial year 2016-17 and only 21 per cent of these were settled while 951 cases were filed in FY18 and 46 per cent of these were settled.
The DIFE filed 490 cases in the July-April period of FY19 and the rate of settlement was 65 per cent.
Farid Ahmed, DIFE joint inspector general said that the department was working to bring down the rate of the labour-law violations in workplaces.
‘We not only file cases but are also conducting motivation programme in industries and other establishments to sensitise people about the labour laws,’ he further said.
With support from the International Labour Organisation, the labour ministry prepared the national occupational safety and health profile for the first time in the country.
‘The DIFE has taken a positive initiative as the OSH profile would help identify the deficiencies in implementing the labour laws,’ Centre for Policy Dialogue research director Khondoker Golam Moazzem said.
He suggested that the government should formulate an action plan to rectify the violations of the laws in workplaces.
Moazzem further suggested that there should also be strong monitoring from the government to ensure proper implementation of the labour laws.
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