$2.5m for better worker rights
Norway's foreign ministry and the International Labour Organisation yesterday signed a $2.5 million deal to assist Bangladesh in ensuring workers' rights.
Promotional works including training and awareness programmes will be carried out in the export-oriented industries such as readymade garment, leather and shrimp sectors to promote the worker rights and labour relations in Bangladesh.
Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås, Norwegian minister for international development, and Srinivas Reddy, ILO's country director for Bangladesh, signed the deal at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.
Prior to the signing ceremony, the Norwegian minister said the most important question raised by the Rana Plaza incident aftermath was “What needs to be done in the future?”
Improving working conditions and safe work places and ensuring fundamental rights of workers are required to prevent such incidents in Bangladesh, he said.
“By supporting the ILO's efforts in Bangladesh, we want to make a contribution to improved working conditions and better and fairer wages for Bangladeshi workers.”
Stressing the need for trade union in the export-oriented industries, Holmås said: “Without that [trade union], we have nothing.”
He also urged international buyers from across the world to continue to buy from Bangladesh.
Reddy said the support directly contributes to implementation of one of the commitments, on workers education and training of mid level supervisors and managers on occupational safety and health and fundamental principles and rights at work.
Fazlul Hoque, president of Bangladesh Employers Federation, said the support will help the country to rebuild its images that it lost in the international markets after the Tazreen Fashions and Rana Plaza tragedies.
Mikail Shipar, labour secretary, and Sukkur Mahmud, a representative of National Coordination Committee for Workers' Education, also spoke.