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ILO to review amendments to Bangladesh Labour Act
23
Jul '13
The supervisory machinery of the International Labour Organization (ILO) would be reviewing the conformity of the July 15 amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 with international labour standards later this year.
 
“The amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006, adopted on 15 July 2013, will hopefully prove to be the first step towards fulfilling the Government’s obligation to respect fully the fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and to address the critical need to bolster occupational safety and health,” the Geneva-based ILO said in a statement on reform of Bangladesh labour law.
 
Bangladesh has ratified ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining and thus is required to protect the rights contained therein, the statement said. 
 
However, the conformity of the amended legislation with international labour standards ratified by Bangladesh will be reviewed by the ILO supervisory machinery later in the year. 
 
ILO said that an initial review suggests that the amendments did address some of the ILO’s specific concerns, but the amendments fall short of several important steps called for by the ILO supervisory system to bring the law into conformity with ratified international labour standards. 
 
The statement commended that several provisions to improve workplace safety have now been included in the labour law, but added that the ILO encourages Bangladesh to ratify the key international labour standards on occupational safety and health (OSH) policy, namely Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (no. 187) and Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (no.155). 
 
The amendments take several steps called for by the ILO, including the elimination of the previous obligation to send to employers the names of union leaders at the time of registration of a trade union at the factory or federation level. 
 
However, a number of restrictions to workers’ freedom of association rights which have been the subject of ILO concerns were not addressed by the amendments. “For example, major areas that remain to be addressed include the reduction of the 30 per cent minimum membership requirement to form a union,” the statement said.
 
The ILO noted that progress has been made by the Government of Bangladesh in recent months in registering enterprise-level trade unions, which did not require an amendment of the labour law. 
 
 

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