Labour rights situation of Bangladesh is deteriorating gradually, as both violence against them and the number of accidents at workplace have increased remarkably, according to a report of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS).
In the last year, at least 764 incidents of violence against workers -- including murder, abduction and rape -- took place in different parts of the country; this number was 582 in the previous year , the report found.
Besides, around 1,020 workers were killed and 482 others injured in various types of accidents at workplaces last year. The death toll was 784 in 2017, it added.
BILS prepared the report based on news published in national dailies from January to December in the corresponding years. The findings were unveiled at a press conference held at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
The report found that at least 279 workers were murdered in 2018, a number that stood as 133 in the previous year. Besides, about 170 went missing and 34 were raped, including 12 gang-rapes last year.
Fisheries, transport and garments were the sectors where most of the violence took place, it added.
About workplace accidents, the report said most workers were killed in transport, construction and agriculture sectors last year. And the situation is getting worse, particularly in transport and construction sectors.
At least 424 and 161 workers were killed in the two sectors last year, which were 307 and 131 in 2017, it said.
The report also said a total of 334 labour demonstrations took place last year. Of them, the highest of 123 were in garment sector, which were mostly related to increment of monthly minimum wage.
Sharing the report findings at the press conference, Wajedul Islam Khan, joint secretary general of BILS, said Bangladesh has developed significantly in recent decades, but the development would not remain sustainable if the workers’ rights are not ensured.
“Garment is the sector from which the country earns the highest revenue. To keep this as well as the other sectors alive, we have to think of the life and work environment of the workers,” he said.
The noted labour leader urged the government and employers to pay workers properly, increase their salary timely, not to give them excessive workload and ensure a safe, decent workplace.
BILS organised the event marking International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers.