European Union once again asked the Bangladesh government to ensure trade unions in the export processing zones within the ILO convention framework.
EU representative and German Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Thomas Prinz urged the government to immediately allow trade union in EPZ.
The calls came at a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at the secretariat office on Thursday.
After the meeting, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the EU demanded implementation of trade union in EPZ areas under the international labour law.
“But I said now the worker welfare associations are operational in the EPZ areas.”
He said: “We have to find out a formula how to implement trade unions in the EPZ factories.”
“We will sit with EU on May 18 to discuss actual labour rights situation in Bangladesh.”
Tofail hoped the situation between Bangladesh and EU will be eased soon.
He also said We will discuss the matter at the Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting.
Nearly 55% of Bangladesh exports go to the EU market.
He claimed there is no labour unrest in the country. “Our garment factories are running smoothly. Our law is similar to the ILO law.”
“But we want real workers be labour leaders. It is unfortunate that workers are not leading the workers,” Tofail said.
Former president of the ITUC and vice chairman of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Michael Sommer said the Bangladesh is trusted friend of Germany.
“The relations between Germany and Bangladesh have improved since the Rana Plaza incident.:
He hoped the labour rights situation will also improve.
Michael Sommer said: “The government of Bangladesh will have to upgrade its worker rights in the international level.”
European Union wants that a common standard be maintained to ensure equal rights for workers employed in the country’s export processing zones and beyond.