Specialized Labour Institution

Empower Workers, Promote Decent Work & Sustainable Development

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Press Release

Call to ensure Occupational Health and Safety for Migrant Workers 

May 14, 2016: In a dialogue on safe migration the speakers urged the authority of sending and receiving countries to ensure occupational health and safety for migrant workers. The dialogue titled “Occupational Safety of Migrant Workers” organized by Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation was held on May 14 in DRU Conference Room in Dhaka.. A R ChowdhuryRepon, Executive Director of OSHE presented keynote paper, where he mentioned that a total of 26477 death bodies of Bangladeshi migrant workers were sent to home during 2005 to 2015. OSHE findings show that, according to official records, among these migrants,  29.46% died due to stroke, 18.49% died for cardiac arrest, 11.72% lost lives due to sudden illness, 2.45% were suffering from cancer, 4.63% died due to occupational accidents and 1.3% were victim of fire accident.

Md. Akram Hossain, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare & Overseas Employment attended the dialogue as Chief Guest, while Hassan Ahmed ChowdhuryKiron, a renowned labour migrant analyst,Dr. Syeda Rozana Rashid, Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations, Dhaka University and Hasina Hoque, Country Director, Dan Church Aid  took part in discussion. The dialogue was moderated by Dr. S M Morshed, Vice Chair of OSHE Foundation.

The speakers suggested to include Occupational Safety in pre departure briefing, strengthening workplace safety monitoring by the employers, introduce help line in diplomatic missions for emergency response, taking special measures to stop sexual violence against domestic female workers and inclusion of Government support to occupational accident victims under social safety net schemes. Returnee migrants also shared their experience in this regard. 

Krishi Shromik Adhikar Forum (KSF) has launched

May 11, 2016: Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) and Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation (BLF) jointly organized a launching ceremony of Krishi Shromik Adhikar Forum (KSF) at VIP Lounge, National Press Club, Dhaka on 11 May, 2016. Honorable Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Mikhail Shipar has presented as Chief Guest.featureimg

Chairman of BLF Mr. Abdus Salam Khan presided at the meeting while Secretary General Z M Kamrul Aanam moderated it. President of Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) Mr. Md. Abdul Mukit Khan, General Secretary of Jatyia Trade Union Kendra Dr. Wazedul Islam, Chairperson of OSHE Saqi Rizwana, Executive Director of OSHE Mr. Repon Chowdhury, General Secretary of Bangladesh Labour Federation and member of ILO’s governing body Advocate Delwar Hossen, General Secretary of Jatyia Shromik Kormochari Oykko Parishad Mr. Hedayetul Islam, Kamrul Ahsan attended the seminar, among others. Representatives from Action Aid, BAFLF, Karmajibi Nari, BLUST, BFTUC, BLF, BMSF, and many others organization have attended the function.  

In his Speech Mikhail Shipar said, the formation of KSF is a need of the time. I am very much glad to attend this historical event by joint effort. Agriculture workers have been defined in the Labor Law of 2013. Agriculture workers are most vulnerable community of the society.  I congratulate OSHE and BLF for this forum.

He also said, there is no barrier to forming trade union of agriculture workers in the law. Agriculture workers are not well skilled in using machinery. They have need to training and motivating in using modern machinery, so that they can easily and safely use them and the cultivation system will more effective.  

He also said, Child labour is visible in this sector. Children are works in their fathers land. So it is very difficult to reduce. But we are trying to reduce this in organizing effort. Marketing network of this sector is very weak. I hope that, this forum will play an effective role to strengthen this marketing network.

Honorable special guest, General Secretary of National Trade Union Congress Dr. Wazedul Islam said, agriculture workers are deprived from the era of time. KSF is a timely initiative to organize and ensure the right of the agriculture workers. The responsible authority must be careful about convert the forum as business purpose.

President of Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) Mr. Md. Abdul Mukit Khan said, to be a bargaining agent for agriculture workers and ensure the legal and social rights, Krishi Shromik Adhikar Forum (KSF) is a laudable initiative.  

In welcome speech, Chairperson of OSHE Saqi Rizwana said, agriculture workers are the heart of Bangladesh. 45 percent of total workers involved in this sector. But the livelihood of agriculture workers is beggar description. The journey of KSF is to create an active and sustainable organizing system for these workers. We hope that this forum will go forward by implementing long term development planning for agriculture workers, taking time bound steps and organizing efforts for all.

Executive Director of OSHE Mr. A. R. Chowdhury Repon presented the Keynote paper on the background, rationale and importance and objectives of the KSF.  A video documentary also showed on the "life and livelihood of agriculture workers".

At last Chairman of BLF Mr Abdus Salm Khan ended the program program as chair. He thanked the guests and the whole participants. He said, we are divided, not united. Let’s go for working for the agriculture workers by bargaining with government and others stakeholders united by ending the separation.  

The speakers and representatives of different organization placed several recommendations in their speech including ratify and implement the article-141 of ILO Convention, provide identity card and registered the workers as agriculture workers by government, formulation of crops distribution policy among sharecroppers and land owners, ensure fair price of produced crops and cooperative based marketing, ensure balanced woman participation in KSF, etc. 

Celebration of International Workers’ Memorial Day 2016

April 28, 2016: On the occasion of International Workers’ Memorial Day 2016, OSHE organized a rally on 28 April 2016 at in-front of National Press Club, Dhaka.  The speakers in the rally called for combined action to promote culture of occuoational safety. The appreciated the decision taken by the Government of Bangladesh to observe Occupational Health and Safety Day on 28 April in line with ILO declaration. 

The participants in the rally showed play card to address the rights of informal workers, who are contributing towards economic progress of the country.

Mr. Repon Chowdhury, General Secretary of Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congess (BFTUC) and also the Executive Director of OSHE mentioned that, occupational health and safety at workplace is the basic rights of workers and this is the responsibility of factory owners to ensure safe and decent workplace for workers and employees. He also gave emphasied on active role of civil society in fulfilling the rights of workplace safety across the country.

General Secretary of FGW Ms. China Rahman stated that safe work environment can enhance productivity and create good branding of the company. For greater interest workplace safety should be considered with due importance and priority. 

Remembering Occupational Victims of Rana Plaza

April 24, 2016: With due respect and honor, Rana Plaza Accident Victims Rights Network organized a human chain and placed flowers at the accident site of Rana Plaza RNG Factory on April 24th, 2016 to mark the 3rd anniversary of the tragic accident happened three years back, where 1100 RMG workers lost life.  OSJE played led role in formation of Rana Plaza Victims Network for raising voices of accident victims to ensure fair compensation, rehabilitation and reintegration of the survivors. Photo -2-1, Photo -2-2,

Mr. Repon Chowdhury, Executive Director of OSHE Foundation urged to the government for necessary action to meet the demand raised by the accident victims and rights activists. featureimg632, 3 YEARS OF RANA PLAZA- laid wreaths Justice Remains Elusive

Call for Asbostos Free South Asia

April 23, 2016: The South Asia Strategic meeting on the ban of asbestos took place in Brac Inn in Dhaka on April 23, 2016. The strategic meeting brought together 20 advocates, activists, victims and trade unionists from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal who are working towards a ban of asbestos and was hosted by Bangladesh Ban Asbestos Network (B-BAN), Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN) and Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC).

The global burden of disease estimate of asbestos related diseases in 2013 was 218,338 compared to 107,000 in 2004. The goal of the meeting is to have focused discussions on building strategies nationally with the sub-region and work on coordinated activities in South Asia in terms of diagnosis, compensation and advocacy working towards a ban in the region.

Mr.Mahmood, a worker from the ship breaking yard in Chittagong aged 43 has worked in the yard for 17 years stated that he was not aware of the deadly nature of this carcinogenic substance. He handled asbestos with his bare hands and then used his hands without washing it to ingest food. Even his sputum had asbestos fibred. The asbestos fibred was found all over the worksite. He now suffers from chest pain, breathing problem, malaise and physical weakness.

Mr. Sugio Furuya, coordinator of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN) stated that Nepal has banned asbestos in 2015 and Sri Lanka is working its way now towards a ban with a timeline in sight of 2018.

In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Ban Asbestos Network (B-BAN) since its inception in 2013 has been working on raising awareness, education, identifying affected workers and communities especially in Chittagong and B-BAN has the backing of the regional and global advocates for the complete ban of asbestos in Bangladesh.

The Indian state of Rajasthan has set up a Pneumoconiosis Board comprising of Government doctors to diagnose cases of occupational lung diseases and the identified workers have been paid compensation out of a Government managed fund. This is the only example in the region where consistent pressure exerted by grassroots organisations and victims have led to the formation of a government infrastructure for diagnosis and compensation. The meeting consolidated these developments which can be replicated and built upon in countries in the South Asian region. 

Mr. Repon Chowdhury, National coordinator of B-BAN stated that ‘now’ is the time for collective action and pressurizing Governments in the sub region to ban asbestos following the example of Nepal. The Bangladesh government should immediately come up with a national asbestos profile and a national plan of action to combat against asbestos related diseases delivering justice the asbestos victims and national time-bound plan to the complete ban of asbestos in the country.

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