Policymakers, experts for bolstering protections of migrant workers

BSS, Dhaka

Policymakers, experts and representatives from national and international organizations on Saturday put emphasis on strengthening engagement of Trade Unions and Civil Society Organizations in migration sector of Bangladesh to bolster protections of migrant workers at home and abroad.

They made the remarks while speaking at “National Consultation on Migration and Development: Trade Unions and Civil Society Organization’s Platform,” organised by WARBE Development Foundation with support of Solidarity Centre Bangladesh.

Speaking as the chief guest, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and Employment Ministry Mujibul Haque Chunnu, MP, said migrant workers have been facing various problems at home and abroad.

The middlemen and recruiting agencies that were involved in wrong doings should be brought under punishment, he said.

Mujibul Haque said all stakeholders including government and nongovernment organizations should have to work together’ with utmost sincerity’ to protect the migrant workers of Bangladesh.

Solidarity Center’s Country Programme Director in Bangladesh Jon Hartough joined the national consultation virtually to welcome all participants and extended best wishes to them on behalf of the 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO, the largest trade union organisation in America.

“I am pleased to join all of you virtually for this important event, bringing policymakers, trade unions, migrants’ supportive organisations and other government and non-government stakeholders together to discuss migration and development concerns,” he said.

Jon Hartough said the national consultation highlighted the importance of having worker organisations and unions involved in migration policy dialogue, and emphasised the involvement of the extensive network of the global trade union movement to support migrant workers’ rights.

In welcome remarks, trade union leader and Bangladesh Migrant Workers’ Forum adviser Abul Hossain said time has come to involve the country’s trade unions with the migrant rights protections.

He hoped that existing gaps between trade unions and CSOs would be removed through holding dialogues on the migrations.

Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation President Babul Akter said the involvement of the trade unions with the common TU-CSO platform has been a “time-befitting step” and now they could play important role in protections of migrant workers.

He urged the government to include the issues of migrant workers with the labour law to enable the migrants forming trade unions in Bangladesh.

Former foreign secretary and migration expert Shahidul Haque identified some challenges and opportunities of the joint platform of TU-CSO designed to work on migration sector.

He suggested the members of the platforms to put some common issues centering “Migrant Workers” and raised their common voices in national and international forums to effectively ensure the rights of Bangladeshi migrant workers.

Moderating the session, WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque highlighted the importance of internal and international migration from Bangladesh.

He stressed the need for strong involvement of Bangladesh trade unions in the migration sector to bolster migrant protection through forging partnership on the migration issues.

Former lawmaker and Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development secretary general Mahjabeen Khaled said that they have been working to present the country’s migrants’ issues from grassroots to international level.

“This is very important sector that provide $15 billion. We have to work together. TU can play an important role in the process. If we work together, we will be able to play better role in migration sector,” she said.

Lawmaker and member of parliamentarians’ caucus on child rights Rowshan Ara Mannan, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment ministry Additional Secretary Nojibul Islam, ILO Bangladesh Chief Technical Advisor Laetitia Weibel Roberts, Bangladesh Ovibashi Adhikar Forum (BOAF) chairman Nazmul Ahsan, National Domestic Women workers Union general secretary Murshida Akter, Foreign Affairs ministry’s director general Nazrul Islam, Bureau of Manpower, Employment Training (BMET) additional director general Mir Khairul Alam,

International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) country coordinator Capt (retd) Ikram Hossain, ILO national programme officer Rahnuma Salam Khan, UNWOMEN gender adviser Tapati Saha, BOAF member Shimantu Shiraj, Probashi Kalyan Bank general manager Kamal Hossain, and Trade union leaders Pulak Ranjan Dhar, Shahidullah Badal, Kamrul Hasan, Rashedul Alam Raju and Salauddin Swapan, among others, spoke at the consultation.