The existing labour law needs to be amended to protect workers' rights and meet international standards, analysts said yesterday.
To achieve inclusive growth, initiatives should be taken to reduce rising property discrimination and income inequality along with ensuring decent work, they said.
They spoke at a dialogue on “Inclusive growth and decent work” organised by the Economic Relations Division (ERD) in the capital.
“We need to upgrade the labour laws to cover all the sectors of the economy,” Mikail Shiper, former labour secretary, said at the programme.
The existing labour law could not cover some sectors, because of which many remain deprived of their rights, he said. “The law commission should take proactive initiatives to amend the labour law.”
He also suggested the minimum wage for workers be fixed in a way which ensures inclusive growth.
To protect workers' rights properly, trade unions should be formed sector-wise, not factory unit-wise, the former bureaucrat said.
Decent work is the major component for inclusive growth, Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said in his presentation.
Proper plans should be taken for the next 10 years to ensure inclusive growth, he also suggested.
Only decent work alone cannot ensure inclusive growth, it needs to reduce property discrimination and income inequality, said Rushidan Islam Rahman, former research director of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies.
“Workers' wage has increased with time, but the real income did not increase. If inflation is taken into consideration, the real income has rather declined.”
She also suggested for addressing regional inequality issues for balanced development in the country.
She gave examples of Rangpur, Rajshahi and Mymensingh, saying people in those divisions were poor compared to those in other parts of the country.
There is enormous pressure on the factory owners from home and abroad now to take corrective measures to ensure safe workplaces, said Rubana Huq, managing director of Mohammadi Group. “So it is not possible to deprive the workers of their rights.” Kazi Anowarul Hoque, additional secretary to the ERD, moderated the dialogue where Monowar Ahmed, another additional secretary to the division, and Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, executive director of the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies, also spoke.