Cabinet okays labour policy
The cabinet on Monday approved the draft of a new National Labour Policy designed to cover the overall welfare of workers engaged by agriculture and other informal sectors, officials said.
The ministry of labour and employment submitted the draft National Labour Policy 2012 at the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister Sheikh Hasina at the secretariat.
The labour and employment ministry prepared the draft taking into the consideration the latest changes in industries owned by both private entrepreneurs as well as the government to ensure fair wages of the workers and to protect their dignity, cabinet secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after the meeting.
He said that the first labour policy was framed in 1972 just after the country’s independence with the objective of establishing a society free from exploitation and oppression.
The move to make the new labour policy was taken in the backdrop of growing demand for the recognition of farm workers many of whom are women.
The labout policy of Bangladesh was last revised in 1980.
The labour policy was not updated in last 32 years, Mosharraf said.
He termed it a comprehensive labour policy seeking coordinated action by the government, owners and workers to ensure workers’ rights, dignity, welfare and their occupational health.
He said that the cabinet approved the draft policy and asked for the inclusion of some of its observations in it.
He said that the cabinet linked the labour policy with the Awami League-led government’s Vision 2021 on the rights of workers engaged by the formal as well as the informal sectors including, agriculture, poultry and dairy farms, construction companies and the restaurants.
The new policy, he said, provides the guidelines as to how eliminate child labour.
It focuses on the interest and the working environment of child and woman labourers, he said.
‘If needed, new laws would be enacted in some areas to implement the policy which provides the guidelines for abolishing child labour,’ he said.
He said that the cabinet, however, asked for not treating under-age children engaged by family enterprises, like handloom factories as child labour.
The draft policy also specifies ways to protect the rights of 80 lakh Bangladeshis working abroad.
‘The draft policy stipulates measures to minimise procedural costs for workers going abroad seeking jobs and to protect their rights,’ the cabinet secretary said.
If needed, the government would declare the overseas labour market a separate sector as a large number of Bangladeshis are working abroad with new employment opportunities opening up for them in foreign countries, according to the draft policy.
Around 18 to 20 lakh new job seekers, who come to the labour market each year, could be provided with job opportunities, Mosharraf added.