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Labour law amendment: Govt forms tripartite committee to report on draft proposals

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The government has formed a tripartite committee to prepare a report on the draft proposals for amending the labour law in line with the recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU).

The ministry of labour and employment on Monday issued a gazette notification in this regard, abolishing the previous one issued on March 15 this year.

The 17-member committee comprised 11 government officials including labour, commerce, textile and jute, industries ministries, and three each from owners and workers representatives.

Earlier, the ministry in its March notification asked the committee to submit the report to the labour secretary within six months while the latest one mentioned no timeframe in this regard.

When asked, a member of the committee said they have been working for the last couple of months and there are a few other sub-and-working committees that are also working on the amendments.

"We have received amendment proposals from a total of 17 organisations including owners and workers, and the compilation might be done within one or two months," added the member.

Bangladesh is committed to bringing further amendments to the labour law by March 2023, last reviewed in 2018, in line with ILO and EU recommendations.

Meanwhile, a meeting was held on Monday in a city hotel where the ILO Bangladesh Office briefed the labour law review committee members on the international standards and their practices in some other countries.

It also discussed the complaints against Bangladesh over non-observance of three ILO core conventions, a meeting source said.

At the 108th ILO session in mid-June 2019, labour representatives from Italy, Japan, South Africa, Pakistan and Brazil sought an enquiry commission against the government of Bangladesh.

Dhaka was accused of discontinuing convention 87 on freedom of association and right to organise, convention 98 on right to organise and collective bargaining, and convention 81 on labour inspection.

The complainants also proposed forming a commission of enquiry against Bangladesh for non-observance of the conventions.

Later, in November 2020, the ILO asked Bangladesh to develop a time-bound roadmap to address all the concerns mentioned by the complainants, sources said.

Subsequently, Bangladesh developed a time-bound roadmap under four priority areas with a series of specific actions set against the timeline.

The four priority areas are: labour law reform, trade union registration, labour inspection and enforcement, and addressing acts of anti-union discrimination/unfair labour practices and violence against workers, they added.

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