BILS, with the support of Mondiaal FNV organised a report Sharing Meeting on “Decent work and workplace safety situation 2019” on December 30, 2019 at BILS Seminar Hall, Dhaka. Research reports on Decent work situation, workplace Accident and humiliation, industrial dispute and workers action in 2019 were shared in the meeting. BILS prepared this report on the basis of National News Papers.
BILS Vice Chairman Alhaj Sukkur Mahamud Chaired the meeting while BILS Executive Director Md. Zafrul Hasan delivered welcome speech. BILS Vice Chairman and Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal President Anwar Hossain, Jatiya Sramik Federation General Secretary and BILS Advisory Council Member Amirul Haque Amin, Bangladesh Apparels Workers Federation President Touhidur Rahman, BILS Director Nazma Yesmin also spoke at the meeting. BILS Decent Work Desk Officer Fariba Tabassum presented the report, while Deputy Director (Information) Md. Yousuf Al Mamun and Researcher Moushumi Nishat Shimul discussed on different issues according to the questions of the Journalists.
According to the report, a total of 423 incidents of labour unrests took place in the industrial sector in 2019, while at least 131 unrests occurred in readymade garment sector this year. The report showed that 63 incidents of unrests took place in jute mills, 61 in transport sector and 26 in media during the time.
Most of the unrests took place over unpaid wages and allowances, labour rights, lay-offs and low wages according to the report, which was prepared on the basis of media reports from January 1 to December 25 of 2019.
At least 1,175 workers, including seven women workers, killed in workplace accidents in 2019 across the country. In 2018, the death toll in workplace accidents was 1,020. It also showed 508 workers death in transport sector, 131 workers in construction sector, 116 in agricultural sector, 85 day labourers, 62 fishermen, 35 electricians, 29 migrant workers, 24 plastic factory workers, 23 brick kiln workers, 14 ship breaking workers and six workers at garment sector.
Besides, some 329 workers were killed including 48 women and several hundred were injured in a total of 1,285 instances of violence including murder, torture and rape. In 2018 Number of incidents of violence was 764. It showed that 577 migrant workers, 125 garment workers, 115 transport workers, 78 fishermen, 67 brick kiln workers, 51 domestic workers and 49 agricultural workers faced abuses during the time.
According to the report, 125 RMG workers killed in violence in 2019. The number of men workers was 39 and women workers was 86 including 38 dead, 75 Injured, 5 missing and 7 workers suicide. The report said in 2018, at RMG sector a total number of 131 workplace unrest were occurred in RMG Sector. In last year, one worker was died due to unrest in RMG sector while 187 workers were injured and among them 187 were Male and 63 were Female worker.
Report said, At least 11,000 workers have been fired for their alleged involvement in the recent labour unrest in the country, demanding due implementation of the wage structure and removing discrimination. some 5,845 workers have been sued cases in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur over the RMG sector unrest, and over a hundred of workers are in jail. Besides, the owners are hanging photos of the terminated workers at factories, which is also creating untold sufferings for the workers.
Speakers said, it is a matter of concern that the number of workplace accidents and violence are increasing gradually. Ensuring a decent salary and safe workplace environment for workers are imperative if we want to make the country’s economic progress sustainable. Trade union right is one of the preconditions of ensuring Decent Work in the industrial sector, they added.