Sheikh Hasina. Star file photo
Stressing the importance of good owners- workers relationship for the rapid development of the industrial sector, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the owners and workers to remain alert so that no one could harm the country's industry, mills and factories in the future spreading rumours.
"We saw in the past that damages were done to industries spreading rumours. So, I'll request both the owners and the workers so that such incidents do not reoccur in the future,” she told a function organised at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city marking the historic May Day.
State Minister for Labour and Employment M Mujibul Haque Chunnu presided over the function arranged by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment Munnuzan Sufian, ILO country director Srinivas B Reddy, president of Bangladesh Employers' Association Tapan Chowdhury, president of Jatiya Sramik League alhaj Shukkur Mahmud, among others, spoke on the occasion. Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Mikhail Shipar delivered the welcome address.
The Prime Minister said the workers need to consider the fact that those mills and factories which ensure their food and their living are not harmed and their production are not stopped in any way.
"If the mills and factories are affected, then they might lose their jobs."
In this context, Hasina said the demands as well as the movements should not be instigated by any outside force rather should be based on ground reality and the real situation.
Noting that the owners-workers relationship is very important for the progress of the industrial sector, she said while the owners would have to be sympathetic and responsible, the workers will have to be dutiful.
"Then there’ll be a congenial working environment and production will be there, and the country will move ahead," she said.
The Prime Minister said the owners have their own responsibility to their workers as there should not be such discrimination in Bangladesh where some will lead a cozy life while others die suffering from pains.
"We'll have to work together and give the due return of their labour as well as the respect.
No work should be viewed as small or be neglected as every work is indispensable." The Prime Minister said concentrated efforts from all is needed to improve the living standard of the workers, and added that her government has a plan to facilitate establishing industries, mills and factories, especially on SME and labour intensive ones.
Listing her government's various steps taken to ensure the welfare of workers as well as amending the labour law as per the ILO convention, Hasina said Bangladesh would stand on its own feet as a dignified nation at the global stage so that no one could dominate and dictate the country.
Sheikh Hasina alleged that vested quarters are trying to creating chaos in mills and factories and a section of outsiders using the name of workers unleash vandalism in the industries.
To save the industrial sector, she urged the owners and workers to resist any chaos instigated by any outside quarter. The Prime Minister underlined the importance of good relations between the owners and workers and said it is only their proper understanding that can ensure better a working condition and boost production, leading the country towards prosperity.
Terming this year’s May Day Slogan 'Sramik-Malik-Bived Bhuli, Sonar Bangla Gore Tuli' as the time-befitting one, Sheikh Hasina said only some affectionate words of the industry owners can inspire the workers.
Referring to the increase in garment workers’ wages to TK 5,300 from TK 1,600 in the last five years alongside raising the wages of the workers at the state-owned enterprises, the Prime Minister also asked the workers to consider the capacity of the factory owners before raising any demand instead of getting instigated by outside quarter.
If the industries survive, employment opportunities will be created for the workers, their poverty will be alleviated and their children will get education the Prime Minister said and advised the workers not to involve in any such activities which is harmful for country’s industry sector.
The Prime Minister said in order to enhance the living standard of the all citizens, her government is formulating policies on ensuring congenial working atmosphere, wages and others rights of all non-formal workers including the housemaids and workers in cottage industries.
Referring to the country’s glorious workers movements, Sheikh Hasina said her government believes only the honest and qualified leadership can direct the workers to the right path. She urged the Trade Union leaders to take initiatives after evaluating the national and international situation prudently for achieving the rights of the workers as well as the industrialization of the country.
Referring to various initiatives taken by her government soon after the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24 last year, Sheikh Hasina said they have been working for the rehabilitation of the family members of the dead and injured workers in Rana Plaza collapse from the very first day.
She said family Saving Certificates were given to spouses, children and parents of the victims instead of providing them with cash so that they could lead their lives decently.
Apart from the volunteers, every organ of the government, including the Army, Navy and Air Force, Police, RAB, BGB, Ansar, Fire Service and Labour and Employment Ministry and Disaster Management Ministry, participated in the rescue operation which has been acclaimed globally.
In this context, she said fire service and defense stations are being set up at every upazila hospital apart from Dhaka city. Sheikh Hasina said it is the duty of the government to ensure all the basic needs of people, make them self-reliant and enhance their living standard and sought the cooperation of all including the industry owners to achieve the target.