Climate changes making workers more vulnerable

Published : 21 Dec 2020 09:36 PM | Updated : 21 Dec 2020 11:27 PM

Speakers at a webinar have said that employment and health safety of workers in different formal and informal sectors are facing hazards due to climate change. In this situation, Bangladeshi workers are among the most vulnerable. 

OSHE Foundation organised the webinar on Monday, which was conducted in three sessions. Environmentalists, trade union leaders, government officials and workers safety campaigners from home and abroad took part in the webinar. 

Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment Shamsun Nahar, MP, moderated the sessions, while chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Syeda Rizwana Hasan, executive director of OSHE Foundation Repon Chowhury, president of Chinnomul Hawkers’ Samity Kamal Sidique, Sharan Burrow from International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC leaders Bert De Wel, Toshi Hayahi and Sebastien spoke on the occasion, among others. 

The speakers voiced their concerns on gradually deteriorating health safety scenario of workers at different sectors in the country.

They stressed on climate justice, green economy and exploring alternative to hazardous occupations.

In her speech, Syeda Rizwana said that many sectors in Bangladesh such as agricultural sector and ship-breaking industry are facing hazardous consequence of climate change.

Due to salinity caused by climate change, many agricultural lands are getting affected which is casing climate migration, she added. 

She further said that Bangladesh is committed to play positive role in mitigating crisis caused by climate change, but Rampal Power Plant in near to Sundarbans is a breach of that commitment. Presenting a paper, 

deputy secretary of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Dharitri Kumar Sarkar said that Bangladesh is now mainly focusing on three areas to reduce carbon dioxide emissions– Power, Industry and Transpirations.

Repon Chowhury said that brick kilns and ship-breaking sector are two of the hazardous sectors causing major harms to the workers. He also said that climate changes are contributing to poverty, vulnerability, displacement and migrations and affecting livelihood of workers.

Kamal Sidique said that many hawkers in Dhaka have migrated from Southern and Northern parts of the country due to climate change. He demanded compensation and rehabilitations of workers from national and international climate funds.

Sharan Burrow said that the world must more focus on green economy and workers and trade unions must act swiftly to press the issue to the world leaders and governments.