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ILO Wants Bangladesh Labor Rules to Reflect International Standards

The Bangladesh government is discussing implementation rules for the Bangladesh Labor Act, which was revised following the Rana Plaza tragedy,  and the International Labor Organization (ILO) has emphasized the importance of ensuring the proposed rules comply with international labor standards.

A high-level delegation from ILO recently visited Bangladesh to discuss these rules with the government and other stakeholders. The rules are expected to be instated by June 30.

Karen Curtis, chief of the Freedom of Association branch of the ILO’s International Labor Standards Department, led the delegation and highlighted the importance of compliance and the need for the rules to be issued as soon as possible.

“The speed with which the Government revised the Bangladesh Labor Act following Rana Plaza sent a strong signal about its commitment to enhance labor rights and working conditions,” Curtis said. “It is vital that the implementation rules fully reflect this and promote core labor standards. This is an ideal opportunity for Bangladesh to get the rules right and to make a statement to the world that it remains serious about improving labor rights.”

After the deadly Rana Plaza building collapse, the Bangladesh Labor Act was amended to include better safety laws for the Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector. However, almost two years after the revised act was adopted by parliament in July 2013, the implementation rules have yet to be finalized.

The ILO says these rules are necessary because they set provisions for how aspects of the act, including elections to factory-level positions and safety committees, will be carried out.

During their visit, the delegation met with expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, labor and employment minister Md. Mujibul Haque, and representatives of employers, workers organizations and development partners to explain the ILO’s concerns.