The migration experts and migrant rights activists on Saturday underscored the need for involvement of the trade unions with the Global Compact to play their role help ensuring Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration from Bangladesh.
The Global Compact for Migration offers the international community the opportunity to improve workplace productivity and deliver decent work outcomes for migrant workers.
Speaking at a national consultation, the trade union leaders and the migrant rights activists said that the country’s migrant workers were being frequently abused and harassed at home and abroad and they called for concerted efforts of all to protect their rights.
They made the observations while speaking at a national consultation on ‘Involvement of Trade Unions in Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,’ jointly organized by Solidarity Centre Bangladesh and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies in Dhaka city.
Though migrant workers were contributing to development activities in both countries of destinations and origins paying their laborers, skills and remittances, they were forced to lead inhuman life, the discussants said.
Presiding over the meeting, BILS adviser and Bangladesh Labour Federation president Shah Mohammad Abu Jafar said that over 11 millions of Bangladeshi migrants have gone to work abroad and many of them were forced to work as slaves especially in the Middle East countries.
‘The migrant workers cannot enjoy their rights,’ he said, adding that ‘we have to raise our voice and work with international organizations to ensure their rights at destinations.’
In the opening remarks, Dr Lily Gomes, Senior Program Officer of Solidarity Centre Bangladesh, said that trade unions should be involved in the Global Compact on Migration to help ensure the safe, orderly and regular overseas jobs for the thousands of workers.
The process of global compact had already started in April last year and it would be finalized by December of the current year, she said.
‘The role of trade union is important to ensure decent works for the migrant workers as the global compact stresses decent works,’ she said.
BILS joint secretary general Dr Wazedul Islam Khan said that the labour rights organizations should open each a new committee on migration so that they could properly recommend for global compact on migration, which has been an important global issue.
BILS executive director Syed Sultan Ahmmed who moderated the consultation said that trade unions would have to take ‘rapid and specific role’ to protect the rights of the country’s migrants.
The country’s millions of migrants were leading inhuman lives abroad, he mentioned.
WARBE Development Foundation Chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that the concept of global compact has been the brainchild of Bangladesh.
The involvement of trade union is necessary to take the rights movement ahead for the migrant workers, he said.
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Sumaiya Islam demanded that the global compact must ensure justice to the migrants who were facing many problems.
Women Labour leader Shamima Akhter said that women migrants were getting harassed and sexually abused at destination countries and they must be protected.
BILS advocacy coordinator Nazrul Islam and Socialist Labour Front general secretary Razequzzaman Ratan presented separate papers at the consultation, which was also addressed by BILS secretary general Nazrul Islam Khan, Awaj Foundation director Anisur Rahman Khan and Bangladesh Garments and Industrial Workers Federation president Babul Akhter.