Trade Union and CSO Common Platform discuss migration issues in pandemic

A virtual meeting on ‘Trade Union and CSO Common Platform on Migration’ has been held on 14 September aimed at sharing knowledge on COVID-19 pandemic impacts on migration from Bangladesh and discussed prevailing situation of aspirant and returnee migrants and members of their families.

The representatives from different dynamic Trade Union, Civil Society Organizations and media took part in the vibrant advocacy meeting and they put the valuable opinions and recommendations for taking sustainable plans to address the miseries of the migrant workers of Bangladesh.

They examined the development of emerging global as well as regional governance on migration emphasizing concerning strategies and alliance to make a combined transnational civil society as well as trade union engagement in the issues of rights and the protection of migrants’ communities.

WARBE Development Foundation’s chairman Syed Saiful Haque who moderated the virtual meeting in his first address he presented the overall situation of the Bangladeshi migrants and the migration sector experiencing the unforeseen and unpredictable COVID pandemic.

Afterwards Jon Hartough, Program Director, Solidarity Center Bangladesh attended the webinar as chief guest and made the effectual remarks in his welcome address.

According to his opinion, thousands of Bangladeshi migrants at home and destination countries have been facing various problems during this pandemic period.

He put emphasis on collaboration of Civil Society and Trade Union to play the joint role on particular issues of the migrant workers.

“We see desperate workers willing to accept very low wages in extremely dangerous conditions, with no serious health and safety protections, let alone social distancing measures or personal protective equipment,” said Jon Hartough, Solidarity Center Bangladesh program director.

Subsequently, in the open discussion the honorable participants pointed out current issues of migrants and stressed improving the capacity of workers through building a strategic assistance with the purpose labor migrants’ development.

The discussion indicated to create an enabling environment for worker organization that would lead the campaigns for workers’ health and job security.

As the majority of garment workers were women in Bangladesh so they put importance on training women trade union leaders and organizers on labor rights concerned.

The participants said that the development for migrants, especially for women migrants require to establish durable solution in this critical period.

In her presentation, Solidarity Center’s senior program officer Dr Lily Gomes said that Bangladeshi migrant workers have been facing multi-facet problems due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Many workers have returned home from destinations amid pandemic and some of them were also facing unpleasant situation on return home, she said.

Dr Lily Gomes said that the COVID-19 hit migrants’ issues should be raised at all upcoming national, regional and international consultations to ensure protection of their rights stipulated in the global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.

Bangladesh Labor Foundation's general secretary Delwar Hossain Khan said that the government should help returnee migrants with training and funds to engage them  in small and medium enterprizes under cooperative system.

Senior journalist Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan said that some migrant workers who were repatriated from Vietnam as victims of human trafficking were sent to jail in Bangladesh.

He demanded immediate release of the innocent and poor migrant workers who were trafficked to Vietnam on fake jobs offered by the brokers.

Trade union leaders including Pulak Ranjan Dhar, Rashadul Alam Raju, Jahangir Alam and Sreeti Akter among other took part in the discussion.

BOMSA chairman Lily Jahan and director Farida Yeasmn and WARBE DF director Jasiya Khatoon also attended the virtual meeting.

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