15:48:50 local time BANGLADESH
See more in Part 1 Bangladesh- the Labour Law Part 1 23 April 2013- 16 July 2014
* Bangladesh- the Labour Law- an Overview of articles:
* LABOUR RULES : Rights orgs in dark as govt set to issue gazette:
The government is going to publish a gazette of implementation rules of Labour Act 2006 keeping labour leaders concerned in the dark.
The labour leaders say they are unaware whether their proposals have been included in the final draft or not.
The state minister for labour Mujibul Haque on Sunday told reporters that the gazette of implementation rules under labour act would be published by a week and after completing all the legal procedures the final draft had already been sent to the Bangladesh Government Press.
Labour rights groups say the government was supposed to hold a meeting with the labour leaders before finalising the final draft.
‘But the government did not hold any meeting with the labour leaders and we do not know whether our proposals have been included in the rules or not,’ Wajed-ul Islam Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Trade Union Centre, told New Age on Tuesday.
He said it would be illogical to publish the gazette of the implementation rules of labour act without having discussions on final draft with the labour leaders.
* Labour rules delay may affect Nov review:
Delay in formulation of rules on labour law may emerge as a crucial issue when top officials of the Sustainability Compact reviews progress in workplace safety in Bangladesh apparel sector, officials feared.
The second review meeting is scheduled to be held in Dhaka in November next, where top officials and representatives from the European Union (EU), US, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and ILO will be present.
People involved with the process said Bangladesh has failed to comply with some important conditions of the Compact, including formulation of rules to implement the labour law and extend those to the export processing zones (EPZ) or making necessary changes in the existing EPZ law and completion of factory inspection.
After the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers, the EU and the government signed the Compact in July 2013, and later the US joined the initiative.
The first review meeting, attended by 120 participants, held in October last year in Brussels that asked the speedy formulation of the rules for implementing the labour law and making necessary changes in the existing EPZ law, completion of factory inspection and publishing the inspection results and advancement of recruitment of labour inspectors.
* Gazette on rules to implement labour law in 10 days: Chunnu:
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu on Thursday said gazette on the rules to implement the new labour law will be published within 10 days, reports UNB.
The came up with the disclosure while talking to reporters at his Secretariat office.
The labour law enacted in 2006 was amended in 2013. But still there is no rule to implement the new law.
Earlier, a delegation of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety made a call on the state minister.
About the meeting, the junior minister said they discussed the security of workers as well as fire-safety measures of garment buildings.
20150904 * Move to educate workers on labour rights:
Radio talk show launched
The government and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have taken up an initiative to make garment workers aware of their rights and responsibilities.
As part of the initiative, a radio show was launched on Thursday to help workers in the export-oriented readymade garment, leather and shrimp better understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
The weekly one-hour radio talk show titled “Amar Shrom Amar Odhikar (My Labour, My Rights)'” will be broadcast on Radio Today (89.6FM) beginning from today (Friday) at 17.00hrs and all the 16 shows are scheduled in a regular schedule on Friday.
The government in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and supported by Norway launched the local-language radio-show for workers in a city hotel.
“This radio show will be listened to by large numbers of workers around the country. By covering important issues in an interesting and informative manner it will boost understanding of basic labour issues to the benefit of workers and employers alike,” information minister Hasanul Haq Inu said.
* Delay in enacting labour rules in BD annoys EU:
EU trade boss may skip Sustainability Compact meet
Repeated ‘failure’ in enacting enforcement rules on Bangladesh Labour Law and government-BGMEA joint repugnance for the activities of Accord seem to have strained the country’s relations with the European Union.
Official sources said the displeasure of the EU was hinted at a recent meeting between officials of Bangladesh embassy in Brussels and office of the Directorate-General (DG) for Trade of the European Commission.
They said commercial counsellor at the Bangladesh mission Tapan Kanti Ghosh recently met the European trade officials to discuss attendance of EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström at a review meeting marking the second anniversary of Sustainable Compact sometime in October in Dhaka.
However, he was hinted that ensuring attendance of the trade commissioner would be ‘almost impossible’ unless the gazette of rules on implementation of Bangladesh Labour Law is published before July 8.
“Unless it is done before 8 July–the second anniversary of adoption of the Sustainability Compact–ensuring the participation of Trade Commissioner would be almost impossible,” he said.
* Labour rules in the offing:
Labour leaders fear rules will choke trade union activities
The first ever labour rules of the country are in the offing, leaving certain important clauses of Bangladesh Labour Act ambiguous and addressing many of the disputes in which labour leaders and employers remained embroiled so far.
Both labour leaders and entrepreneurs have welcomed the government’s clear stance on the appointment of workers making mandatory registration of contractors and requiring them to provide all benefits to the outsourced workers.
Ambiguity in this regard has been manipulated for years by some employers depriving the workers of their due benefits.
But both labour leaders and entrepreneurs have raised objections to the government’s decision of cutting 0.03 per cent against the open letter of credit from the bank to create a separate fund for 100 per cent export-oriented factories.
The entrepreneurs are willing to deposit 0.03 per cent against the LC to the fund but they want key positions in the management that will handle the fund when both the government and the labour leaders want that the government remain at the helm of the fund management.
The labour leaders also want that the profit-making export-oriented companies contribute 0.05 per cent from their profits to the government’s Workers’ Welfare Fund as per the Workers Welfare Foundation Act.
* Body drafts rules on labour law implementation:
Welfare fund for workers proposed
The Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC) finalised on Tuesday the draft rules on implementation of the labour law by addressing some thorny issues.
The issues include formation of safety committees, payment of workers’ benefit during factory relocation and creation of a welfare fund for export-oriented sectors, according to State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
“The rules will be published in a gazette on nod of the cabinet and vetting from the law ministry,” he told reporters after the TCC meeting held at his Secretariat office on the day. The minister is head of the TCC.
* Draft rules of amended Labour Act 2013 approved:
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has approved the draft rules of amended Labour Act 2013, keeping a provision of depositing 0.03% of export value to the workers’ welfare fund.
Sate Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu made the announcement at a media briefing after the Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC) meeting with representatives from the government, owners and labour at his secretariat on Tuesday.
The approved draft would be sent to the Law Ministry for vetting to publish as gazette, said Mujibul. The rules would be implemented after the publication of gazette, he said.
As per the draft rules, the owners of export-oriented industry including the apparel sector will contribute 0.03% of export value to the workers’ welfare fund, of which 50% will be kept for export-oriented sick industry and 50% will be used for the well-being of workers, said the state minister.
As per the current export value of $24.5bn, the owners’ contribution to the welfare fund would be Tk72 crore, which would amount to Tk150 crore in 2021 when the export value is expected to be $50bn.
* Bangladesh finalises labour policy:
The government has finalised the new labour policy two years after amending the labour law.
The tripartite advisory council, formed with representatives of the industry owners and workers, finalised the policy at a meeting on Tuesday, State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu said.
The Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2013, was passed in Parliament on July 15 that year.
The government made changes to the law after facing global criticism over the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions factory and collapse of Rana Plaza.
Demands for the labour policy had been made since the enactment of the Act.
In March last year, the government reconstituted the 62-strong advisory council with 20 representatives of the industry owners and 20 of the workers.
* Rules finalised to implement new labour law:
The government yesterday finalised the rules for application of the amended labour law of 2013 and fulfil a condition to win back the GSP (generalised system of preferences) status in the US market.
The rules were finalised at a meeting between the government and entrepreneurs of different industrial sectors, at the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry in Dhaka, with its minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain in the chair.
The rules will now be used to implement the labour law in factories, as the clauses in the laws have been explained.
“The rules will be published within the next two weeks, as all the three parties — the labour leaders, owners and the government — agreed to finalise the rules,” Hossain told journalists after the meeting.
“We do not need to pass the rules in the cabinet. We need the vetting from the law ministry to publish the rules,” he said.
* 0.03pc export receipts for workers’ fund:
Rules on labour law shortly
Exporters agreed on Wednesday to contribute 0.03 per cent of their export receipts to the proposed workers’ welfare fund.
The consensus came in a meeting held at the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment with its Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain in the chair.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque, Senior Commerce Secretary Hedayet Ullah Al Mamun, Labour Secretary Mikail Shipar, President of Bangladesh Employers Federation and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association Tapan Chowdhury, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Atiqul Islam and President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association AKM Salim Osman, among other representatives from the owners’ side, were also present in the meeting.
“Owners of export-oriented sectors have agreed that they will share 0.03 per cent of their FoB (Free on Board) price to the fund to be set up for the welfare of the workers,” Tofail Ahmed told the reporters after the meeting.
“We will now fine-tune all the recommendations that came from both the workers and owners and finalise the rules in the next national tripartite committee meeting expected to be held shortly,” he said adding the final rules would then be sent to the ministry of law for vetting.
read more.& read more.& read more.
* Rules finalized to pave way for Labor Law to take force:
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Wednesday announced that the government has finalised the labour rules-2015 for enforcement of Bangladesh Labor Law (Amendment) Bill 2013.
The minister came up with the announcement after a meeting with the apparel owners, in the presence of some senior ministers at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban.
Tofail Ahmed said all the apparel owners agreed to submit 0.03 percent of their total export earnings annually, which will be around Tk 72 crore to the Bangladesh Labour Welfare foundation so that the money could be used for workers’ welfare.
Expressing that the workers will be benefitted from the initiative, he said if the workers get injured or killed by accidents, Tk 2 lakh would be provided from the welfare fund.
Speaking at the programme, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said the government took time to finalize the labour rules as it was important to hold discussion with all the stakeholders including workers and owners of the factories and industries.
* Labour rules finalized incorporating labour welfare fund:
The government today finalized the labour rules-2015 for enforcement of Bangladesh Labor Law (Amendment) 2013 with the provision of forming a fund for welfare of the labours.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed made the announcement after a meeting with the apparel owners and senior ministers of the government at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban here.
Tofail said that all of the apparel owners agreed to annually contribute their 0.03 per cent of total annual export earning which stands at Tk 72 crore for this year to the Bangladesh Labour Welfare foundation to use the money in the welfare of the workers.
‘The workers will get benefit from the decision,’ he said, adding that if workers were killed by accidents during their duty hours, Taka two lakh each would be provided from the welfare fund.
20150503 * So much for incumbents’ claims about worker welfare:
That the Bangladesh Workers’ Welfare Foundation, which came into being in 2006 with an aim to help destitute workers and dependants of dead or injured workers in formal and informal sectors, still limps mainly for the lack of the required government initiative, indeed, provides yet another pointer to the general apathy ruling quarters towards workers.
While the government is yet to contribute any funds to the foundation, according to a report that New Age published on Saturday, it has so far failed to work out any organogram for the entity, something needed to hire manpower for the collection of funds from public and private companies.
Moreover, inspectors of the department of inspection for factories and establishments, who, according to a labour ministry joint secretary who is also the ex officio director general of the foundation, had been assigned to collect the contributions remained busy with ‘day-to-day work’.
* Yet more discrimination against workers:
The apparent misuse by the government of Section 324 of the Bangladesh Labour Law 2006, which enables it to give exemptions in ‘public and national interest’ to an owner or worker from abiding by certain sections other than that related to child labour or maternity leave, is indeed unfortunate.
According to a New Age report on Saturday, using the provision, the government has already given exemptions to six multinational companies, all export-oriented garment factories, all sugar mills, two foreign quick rental power companies and a local company from different sections involving labour compliance.
As a result, workers there now either have to work beyond the stipulated 10 hours a day or do not get fixed lunch break or even get deprived of weekly holidays. Moreover, the owners are able to avoid obligations to follow local and international laws and social compliance audit, something that might have allowed them to exploit the workers at their will.
* Multinational cos, RMGs enjoy special exemptions:
A number of multinational companies and export-oriented garment factories are enjoying special exemption from certain provisions related to labour compliance in Bangladesh Labour Act.
These exemptions include maximum working hours in a day and over the week, whether workers have fixed lunch break and weekly holidays.
Labour leaders complained that these companies were using the exemption from workers’ welfare-related sections of the law to engage workers in work for longer hours and to avoid obligations to follow local and international laws and social compliance audit.
Labour secretary Mikail Shipar said the ministry gave the waivers every six months through gazettes, on the basis of reports prepared by inspectors of the department of inspection for factories and establishments.
‘Inspectors recommend such waivers to curtail production costs at the factories.’
‘Workers’ approval is also taken for recommendations,’ the secretary said.
* Govt yet to make rules to implement labour law:
The government has still not formulated rules for implementing the amended labour law, which is one of the key requirements for regaining Bangladesh’s GSP in the US.
This is despite the parliament’s adoption of the amended law more than one and a half years ago.
“We were supposed to formulate the rules a lot earlier. But, we are still discussing stakeholders’ opinions, to incorporate those into the rules,” said Mikail Shipar, labour and employment secretary.
“Considering opinions from the many sectors that are under the purview of the labour law has delayed the formulation of the rules, even though the draft of the rules has already been written,” Shipar said.
After the twin industrial disasters — Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse — the government amended the labour law allowing fullGovt yet to make rules to implement labour law freedom of association by workers at the factory level.
Under the amended labour law, the government has also allowed formulation of more than 236 trade unions in garment factories over the last one and a half years.
* Owners-workers’ row delays rules forming:
Formulation of rules to implement the amended labour law is getting delayed, following disagreements between the representatives of owners and workers over a number of issues relating to definition and outsourcing of workers, and their share in companies’ profit, sources said.
Besides, both the sides are yet to reach a consensus on the issues like functioning of the workers’ welfare fund, disputes over implementation of some provisions of the amended labour law with regard to formation of safety committees and their jurisdiction, they said.
However, labour leaders have alleged that the government is dillydallying over formation of the rules, protecting the owners’ interest. Formulation of the necessary rules is urgent to implement the country’s labour law, they said.
* Many RMG factories found in default:
Mandatory group insurance for workers
More than one-third of the readymade garment (RMG) factories in the country are yet to give group insurance coverage (GIC) to their workers, in what amounts to noncompliance with the labour laws.
Industry-insiders fear such default issue on the part of the owners remains as one of the flashpoints for labour unrest in the sector.
Data available with the owners’ association shows that more than 1,300 RMG factories have no GIC for their workforce.
The total number of export-oriented garment factories in the country is 3,400.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) data have it that, until September 2014, nearly 2,100 factories have introduced group insurance so far.
Industry sources say for direct or indirect business, it is mandatory for the factory owners to bring all their employees under GIC as per the law.
* Rules yet to be formulated to implement labour law:
Dilly-dallying tactics alleged
The government has failed to formulate the rules to implement the labour law even one year after it has been amended, sources said.
Moreover, it has also missed the revised deadlines as it says it still needs some more time to complete the task, they added.
Formulation of the necessary rules is urgent in order to implement the country’s labour law, they said.
There is also an international pressure to amend the law and properly put them into practice to improve and ensure workplace safety and labour standards, especially in the garment sector following the deadly Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza building collapse, they added.
The EU and the US on different occasions pressed the government to formulate the rules for implementation of the amended labour law to ensure workplace safety and labour standards especially in the readymade garment (RMG) sector.
The government also promised to formulate the rules by March and again sought time extension until July last, which also expired, to revive the US GSP facility and retain the same in the EU market, they added.
Earlier, in August last, the government formed a committee aiming at formulating the draft of rules within three months.
Due to absence of the rules, the new provisions that have been incorporated in the amended ones can not be implemented, another labour leader observed.
Citing an example, he said, according to the amended labour law, a safety committee is a must for a factory that has 50 workers or more than that and the committee would be administered according to the rules. Yet there are no rules to implement the labour law, he regretted.
Moreover, unrest is witnessed in the garment sector before each Eid as nothing is made clear either in the labour law or Minimum Wage Structure for the garment workers, he added.
“The issue is also absent in the draft rules despite frequent requests from the rights groups,” he alleged.
* Labour Act yet to implement in 1 yr:
Thousands of workers of the country are being deprived from their rights as existing labour act did not implement after passing one year.
In some cases workers are being tortured by the factory owners and authorities concerned.
A competent source said the government cannot implement the law as some rules and regulations are yet to be prepared.
However, another source from the labour and employment ministry said the rules and regulations about the new law would be prepared by next two months.
Allude to cabinet had given final approval of Bangladesh Labour Act-2013 (Amendment) on May 13 last year.
On July 26 in the same year, the law passed in the Jatiya Sangshad.