BANGLADESH: NGWF Seeks Right To Form Trade Unions In EPZs

At the inaugural session of a two-day national conference of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) at the National Press Club auditorium, NGWF leaders demanded the right to form trade union in the export processing zones (EPZs) of the country.

The NGWF leaders also called for fixing the wages of EPZ workers keeping consistency with the existing market price.

Speaking at the conference, eminent lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain said it is the basic right of the workers to bargain with their employers collectively.

"The constitution of the country has guaranteed everybody to form organisation to express their opinion and demand," he added.

Dr Kamal said the bar on EPZ workers to form trade union violates the constitution. It is also a shame for the country as workers are struggling here to establish their constitutional rights, he added.

"It is not the trade union, rather the wrong policy of the government is responsible for the closure of state-owned mills and factories," Dr Kamal noted

"When the lawmakers are enjoying all benefits, then why should the workers be deprived of their rights," asked Dr Kamal, adding that only a handful of plunderers are looting the country keeping the majority of the people as hostage.

Shirin Akhter, president of Karmajibi Nari, said industrial workers have to be given sufficient wages as they are earning valuable foreign exchanges for the country.

She supported the demand of the workers to form trade union in the EPZs.

Shirin also alleged that female workers are still being subjected to harassment at their workplace.

Shafiqur Rahman Majumder, a leader of Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, said the government is violating the convention of International Labour Organisation by barring the workers from forming trade union in EPZs.

He regretted that 18 lakh garment workers are not getting Eid bonus. The inaugural session was also addressed by Advocate Abed Raza and NGWF General Secretary Amirul Hoque Amin.

Source: Agencies

January 31, 2004

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Added: January 31, 2004
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