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Sustainability Compact: Effectively investigate and prosecute unfair labour practices

  • Published at 10:59 pm May 18th, 2017
Sustainability Compact: Effectively investigate and prosecute unfair labour practices
Acts of discrimination against trade unions and unfair labour practices need to be addressed in a timely and transparent manner in order to ensure workers’ rights, said Sustainability Compact members. The members of the Sustainability Compact on Ready Made Garment and Knitwear Industry in Bangladesh met for the third time at the Radisson Blu Dhaka on Thursday and issued a joint statement to this effect. On July 8, 2013, post the Rana Plaza building collapse, the Sustainability Compact was launched to promote continuous improvements in labour rights and factory safety in the Ready Made Garment and Knitwear Industry in Bangladesh. The Sustainability Compact comprised the Bangladesh government, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the European Union (EU), and were later joined by the US and Canada. At the meeting, the members also called for promoting Responsible Businesses Conduct (RBC) and a uniform code of conduct for factory audits in Bangladesh. “We note with concern the recent events at the end of last year in Ashulia in which labour leaders were arrested and hundreds of workers were dismissed from their jobs. We call on the factory owners to reinstate those workers who were terminated as agreed in the tripartite MoU,” said Mark Linscott, an assistant United States Trade Representative.
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Recognising the critical role which the RMG sector plays in the development of the country, the partners expressed their continued commitment to the people of Bangladesh, especially by supporting responsible business conduct. The joint statement stated that there was an urgent need to further address acts of discrimination against trade unionists and to effectively investigate and prosecute unfair labour practices in a timely and transparent manner. It also suggested that the government should simplify the trade union rules in the export processing zone (EPZ) factories and amend the labour law to allow the workers to form unions in line with the ILO standards. Noting the significant contributions made by the Accord, Alliance and the government in terms of workplace safety, the compact members also urged the government to continue with factory inspections and promised to continue assessing progress made in the coming year. When questioned about this by the Dhaka Tribune, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the government was dedicated toward working on all such issues in collaboration with the other Sustainability Compact members and that much progress had already been made toward ensuring worker’s rights.
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