Labour law to be amended by this year
The government has formed two committees which will bring amendments to the labour law by December 31 this year, said a top government official yesterday.
"It will be a good law…it will be a better law that will help all of us to maintain decent work in the industrial sectors," said Md Ehsan-E-Elahi, secretary to the labour and employment ministry.
He made the comments at a daylong programme titled "First Industrial Safety Forum in Bangladesh" jointly organised by the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and International Labour Organization (ILO) at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.
Elahi also said the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments has already gone through around 5,200 entities to see if appropriate labour safety initiatives were in place.
"We have already formed 12 industrial safety units…focusing non-readymade garment factories. They have set their target to inspect around 45,000 establishments," he said.
"If needed, a policy would be formulated to improve industrial safety for non-RMG sectors…We are very much concerned about non-RMG and informal sectors," he said.
"We are working for the sectors…on how to establish decent workplaces and how to establish labour rights," he said.
Bangladesh recently ratified ILO Convention 138 to fix the minimum working age at 14 years, said Elahi.
Addressing as chief guest, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said incidents like the Nimtoli and Tazreen Fashions fire were eye-openers for the government to feel that widespread measures should be taken immediately to ensure industrial safety.
"Our industrial growth is fast. Earlier it was agro-based. Now it is heading towards industrial sectors very fast. We have also got big local markets for marketing in various food processing," he said.
The minister said the industrial sector, not only garments, including that of leather have tremendous potential in the world market.
"Our government is taking various steps, including those over safety. So many laws have been updated for labour safety," he said.
Bertrand Dagallier, principal administrator of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, delivered the keynote presentation.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the CPD, delivered the opening remarks and ILO Country Director Tuomo Poutiainen chaired the programme.
Among others, Ardashir Kabir, president of Bangladesh Employers' Federation, and Shamim Ara, chairman of National Coordination Committee for Workers' Education, were present as guests of honour.