The government will hold an inter-ministerial meeting on Sunday to devise a time-bound action plan to address the issues relating to labour rights as demanded by Sustainability Compact partners.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed will preside over the meeting to be held at his ministry.
Law Minister Anisul Huq, Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque and Dr Gowher Rizvi International Affairs adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join the meeting.
The meeting will discuss the trade union issue at Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and workers rights, especially in the country’s apparel industry.
Currently, workers at EPZs enjoy trade union facilities under the Workers’ Welfare Association in line with the Bangladesh EPZ Act, but compact partners want trade unions in line with Bangladesh Labour Act.
Sustainability Compact partners urged Bangladesh to set a deadline for completion of the process to allow trade union at EPZs. They made the call at the third follow-up meeting of compact partners held on April 28 in Dhaka.
“The meeting talked on the sustainability compact and amendment to EPZ Act to allow trade union outside EPZ,” Mikail Shipar, senior secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Since the compact partners sought a time frame to ensure trade union in EPZs, the ministry is working on how to make it possible,” seeking anonymity, a highly credible source at the Ministry of Commerce, told the Dhaka Tribune.
He also said the issue would be settled as soon as possible
since it would be placed at the next meeting of International Labour Conference to be held in June in Geneva.
The meeting would also discuss special paragraph of International Labour Organisation Convention relating to workers rights.
In its latest report, the ILO Committee of Experts (CEACR) expressed its concerns with regard to the most recent serious allegations of acts of violence and harassment against trade unions.