PM urges owners, workers to work together for industrialisation
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the owners and workers of the industries to always keep in their mind the spirit of the immortal May Day and work together for country's industrialisation.
"It's the foremost duty of the workers to work honestly and sincerely to keep their industries operative and it's the duty of the owners to look into the wellbeing, working environment and safety of the labour force which is the main component of their income," she said.
Prime minister said this in the May Day discussion organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this afternoon.
"It's no doubt that Bangladesh will go ahead if there remain a hearty relation between the owners and workers of the industries and they work complementarily with each other," the Prime minister said hoping that the owners and workers of the industries would nourish the spirit of the May Day and take forward the country toward industrialization.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment Munnujan Sufian attended the discussion as special gust while State Minister for Labour and Employment M Mujibul Haque was in the chair.
President of Bangladesh Employers' Federation Salauddin Kashem Khan, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman, Country Director of ILO Sri Nibash Reddy and Secretary of the ministry Mikhail Shipar spoke among others on the occasion.
The Prime minister criticized the so-called labour leaders who frequently instigate the workers and go to foreigner with complaints about country's labour situation and inclined to involve the foreigners to resolve a problem instead of finding local solution.
"I don't know in which factory they work, but they claim them as labour leaders... what is their benefit. I'm doubtful whether they are hired for serving the interests of any foreign agency," the prime minister asked.
"The so-called labour leaders never come with any assistance to workers in their any problem. They don't provide any healthcare service to injured workers... So where is their interests," the Prime minister said adding that none should show more sympathy than us for workers.
The prime minister announced that the government is mulling a plan for welfare of the non-institutional labour force including day labourers and rickshaw pullers. The government would take necessary programmes for them through discussion very soon, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said though Bangladesh is an agricultural country, but it dearly needs industrialization for desired development. So the government has given importance to the productivity as well as the persons behind the productivity, she said.
Pointing out the plan of her government to establish 100 special economic zones in the country, the Prime minister said the economic zones would create new employment opportunities and increase production.
She said the labour market is growing side by side growth of the export market in the world. So the government has taken initiative to give necessary training to the workers who are intended to go abroad with job.
Paying her rich tributes to the heroes of May Day, the Prime minister said they have established the workers' rights through their supreme sacrifice. Since independence, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangabandhu and Awami League government was always dedicated to the welfare of the working class people.
"Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his every step, has demonstrated him as a dedicated person for the oppressed people. We believe in the Bangabandhu's ideology," the prime minister said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu nationalized all abandoned industries after independence to protect the workers' rights. Even in economic hardship Bangabandhu had constituted a wage commission to give fair wages to the workers and declared May 1 a public holiday.
In the Constitution, she said, Bangabandhu guaranteed the workers' rights. So it's our duty to work for them (workers) who according to the constitution are the owners of the state, the Prime minister said adding that Bangladesh would have been a developed country much before if Bangabandhu was alive.
The Prime minister said her government has enhanced the minimum wages of the workers more than 200 percent. And steps were taken for ensuring healthcare services for workers, daycare service for the children of the garment workers, their tiffin and annual increment. All these were done aimed at giving a better life to the workers, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said it's the responsibility of the government to take care of the working class people. And her government is doing this job very sincerely. In case of any industrial accident, she said the government never hesitated to rush to the spot and extend all possible support to the workers.
Financial assistance in the form of fixed deposit or family savings certificates were given separately to the mother, father, wife and children of the persons so far died in industrial accidents, she said.
Steps were taken for adjunction of artificial limbs of the injured workers and they were given sufficient financial support. The support was given not only from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund but also from the fund given by the benevolent persons, she said.
Getting the huge financial supports many workers started their own business in their village homes, she said.
The Prime minister said all industries were given instruction to construct dormitories-cum-training center for worker to facilitate them living in a good environment and have opportunities for their skill development.