Survey puts Bangladesh among 10 worst labour rights guarantors

Published: June 14, 2018 10:39:00 | Updated: June 14, 2018 16:47:30

AP file photo used for representation

Bangladesh is once again ranked among the 10 worst countries in the world where labour rights are not guaranteed, according to a global survey.

Other worst countries are Algeria, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The shrinking democratic space for working people and unchecked corporate greed are on the rise.

The number of countries with arbitrary arrests and detention of workers increased from 44 in 2017 to 59 in 2018, said the survey revealed on June 06.

Freedom of speech was also constrained in 54 countries.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in its 2018 Global Rights Index ranked Bangladesh with 34 other nations in the fifth category.

The fifth category is a sign of "no guarantee of rights".

"The countries with the rating of 5.0 are the worst places in the world to work in," the report said.

"While the legislation may spell out certain rights, workers have effectively no access to these rights and are, therefore, exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices," it added.

The ITUC ranks 142 nations in 1-5 categories against 97 global indicators.

It showed how they were protecting rights like freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike.

The ITUC has been collecting data on the abuse of trade union rights globally for over the past 30 years.

The index presented verified information from the past 12 months so that every government and business can see how their laws and supply chains worsened or improved.

According to the key findings of the ITUC, 54 out of 142 countries deny or constrain free speech and freedom of assembly.

The number of countries where workers are exposed to violence and threats rose by 10 per cent (from 59 to 65).

They included Bahrain, Honduras, Italy and Pakistan.

Unionists were murdered in nine countries, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Guatemala, Guinea, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria and Tanzania.

The ITUC survey found 65 countries that excluded workers from labour laws.

Also, 87 per cent of countries denied the right to strike and 81 per cent limited or full collective bargaining rights.

Ten countries, including Burundi, Palestine and Syria, scored even worse at 5+.

This rating is linked to dysfunctional legislation as a result of any internal conflict and/or military occupation.

The workers in the countries that are ranked fifth have equally limited labour rights.

Thirty-eight countries, including Haiti and Kenya, with systematic rights violations, have been ranked fourth.

Twenty-six countries such as Australia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Spain and Macedonia are ranked third with regular violations of rights.

Twenty-three countries, including Canada, France and Japan, are ranked second with repeated rights violations.

Thirteen countries, including Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, are ranked a top with irregular violations of rights, according to the index.

"Democracy is under attack in countries that fail to guarantee people's right to organise, speak out and take action," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

"Brazil passed laws that denied freedom of association, China restricted free speech and the military was used to suppress labour disputes in Indonesia," she added.

Decent work and democratic rights grew weaker and inequality continued to grow in almost all countries.

Ms Burrow quoted Samsung whose anti-union practices deny workers' freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, as shown in internal company documents seized from their offices in Korea.

She said this was fuelled by the outrageous behaviour of many multinational companies.

"Corporate power of Amazon continues to grow unchecked, from treating workers like robots to threatening to halt its expansion in Seattle…," she added.

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