TU-CSO Common Platform for Advocacy on Migration Launched in Bangladesh

A common platform of the Trade Unions and the Civil Society Organizations for national advocacy on migration in Bangladesh was launched on Wednesday to promote decent work across all sectors for migrant workers.

Solidarity Center Office in Bangladesh supported launching the platform to collectively move forward towards effective implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration with strong trade union and civil society involvement.

Bangladesh government highly appreciated the launching of the common platform of trade union and CSOs in the labour migration sector.

Senior government officials said that the collective role of trade unions and civil society organizations would strengthen protection measures of Bangladeshi migrant workers at home and destinations.

Trade Unions organizations which were involved in the platform included Garment Workers Solidarity Federation, Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union Federation (BIGUF), Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF),  Akota Garment Workers Federation (AGWF), Sommilito Garment Workers Sramik Federation (SGSF), National Domestic Women Workers Union (NDWWU) and Bangladesh Labour Federation.

The CSOs and NGOs  included Ovibashi  Karmi Unnoyan Parogram (OKUP), WARBE Development foundation, Institutes of Informatics and Development (IID), Bangladesh Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA), Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity and Bangladesh Ovibashi Adhikar Forum (BOAF) and Orchita Integrated Development Society.

Names of the organizations were announced at national consultation on ‘Trade Union and Civil Society Organizations Collaboration for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’ held in Dhaka.

In his opening remarks, Solidarity Center’s Bangladesh Country Program Director Jon Hartough said that the Trade Union Common Platform for National Advocacy on Migration in Bangladesh was developed to promote decent work across all sectors for migrant workers.

‘The goal is to collectively move forward towards effective implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), with strong trade union and civil society involvement.’

Jon Hartough said that ‘effective implementation, enforcement, and monitoring are essential to ensuring that migrant worker rights are protected in an equal and consistent manner across the region, and in order to achieve that we have developed the nine-point Common Platform.’  

He said that together with key CSOs, NGOs, and important policymakers and government officials, trade unions have a duty to raise concerns about worker rights and protection from exploitation and labor abuse—both here and abroad—and a strong and coherent trade union voice has been absent from the conversation for too long.

Jon Hartough said that trade unions have important networks in both sending and receiving countries that can link migrant workers with resources and assistance to protect themselves.

Unions also have significant experience resolving disputes in the workplace and ensuring that workers get access to the justice and the legal remedy they deserve when their rights are violated, he said, adding that ‘We’re eager to work with all of the people in this room on this complex issue, and we have a sense of urgency about this because migrant workers are being exploited, abused, and even killed every single day.’     

speaking at the closing session Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development chairman Israfil Alam MP lauded the common platform and hoped that the joint roles would help solve problems of the migrant workers.

Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment ministry’s secretary Salim Reza said ‘We welcome initiative of the common platform of trade union and CSOs.’

He said that the collaboration could help protect the migrant workers at home and abroad.

EWOE ministry’ additional secretary Ahmed Munitus Saleheen said that safe, orderly and regulation could be ensured through partnership of all stakeholders, including trade unions as CSOs.

WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque highlighted collaboration of the trade unions, CSOs and NGOs for protecting rights of the migrant workers.

BOMSA director Farida Yesmin made a PowerPoint presentation on overview, gaps and recommendations on Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013.

On discussion over the presentation, Solidarity Center senior program officer Dr Lily Gomes said the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013 had been enacted for protection of the migrant workers.

‘Steps should be taken for extensive use and proper implementation of the act,’ she said.

Lily Gomes also stressed need for enforcement of the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2012 to protect the migrant workers from trafficking and bring the traffickers to book.

Garment Workers Solidarity Federation general secretary Sreeti Akter demanded protection of the migrant workers at home and abroad from all kinds of exploitations.

Presided over by Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training director Dr Nurul Islam, a technical session was addressed among others by  lawyer Uttam Kumar Das, former secretary general of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies Ali HAider Chowdhury, journalists Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan and Arafat Ara and Institute of Informatics and Development chief executive Syeed Ahamed spoke at the consultation.

National Domestic Workers’ Union adviser Abul Hossain, Bangladesh Ovibshi Odhikar Forum chairman Nazmul Ahsan, Awaj Foundation director Anisur Rahman Khan  and WARBE DF director Jasiya  Khatoon also spoke at the consultation and expressed their solidarity.


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