Amend labour law, frame new rules to ensure workers’ rights
Human rights activists and labour leaders yesterday called on the government to amend the Labour Law 2006 and formulate new rules and regulations in the shortest possible time to ensure workers' rights and help develop the industries.
They also called for a strong monitoring system and formation of a committee represented by the government, employers and workers in order to make sure that the laws are strictly enforced.
The call came at a discussion on the proposed draft rules of the Labour Law 2006, organised by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at Biam auditorium in the city. MJF prepared the draft rules.
MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam handed over a copy of the draft rules to Labour and Employment Secretary Ashfaque Hamid at the programme.
"There should be a labour law review committee to identify the loopholes in the existing law and finalise the rules. The committee should be represented by workers, employers and the government," said Dr Hamida Hossain, convener of the Workers' Safety Forum.
The existing law does not include the issues of agriculture and domestic workers, she said, adding that the issues of women workers' safety and sexual harassment must be looked into seriously.
The noted human rights activist also demanded inclusion of a provision in the labour law so that public interest litigations can be pursued in favour of workers.
Former additional attorney general Abdur Rezzak Khan suggested strengthening the Labour Court so that it can exercise its power to implement its verdicts.
It is irritating that cases remain pending in the court for long and the verdicts are not implemented, he said.
Justice Nirmalendu Dhar, who drafted the labour rules, urged the government to consider amendment to the labour law before finalising the rules, as the law has some loopholes.
Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (Skop) Coordinator Dr Wazedul Islam Khan said the Labour Law 2006 was passed in parliament hurriedly with many flaws in it.
He added that there are even no workers' representatives in the government committee formed to frame rules.
He also demanded withdrawal of the ban on the activities of trade union.
MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam, who presided over the discussion, said the rules of the labour law were drafted to help the government finalise them soon in order to bring qualitative changes to the life of workers.
It is an important task of the civil society members, NGOs and the government to ensure the workers' rights to better life, she added.
Labour and Employment Secretary Ashfaque Hamid said the situation regarding the rights of workers in the country has improved much in the course of time.
The issues of women workers will be given due consideration, he said, adding that the draft rules will help the government finalise them within a short time.
Labour law expert SA Haque, labour ministry deputy secretary Aminul Islam, Labour Adviser to Bangladesh Employers Federation Kazi Saifuddin Ahmad, Jatiya Sramik League General Secretary Roy Ramesh Chandra, BGMEA Joint Secretary Nurul Islam and BKMEA Compliance Officer Mizanur Rahman also spoke at the discussion moderated by Sultan Uddin Ahmed of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies.