Alumni group to support development of employment injury social protection scheme in Bangladesh

August 19, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

 

 

By

Sheuli Akter

An alumni group comprising government, employer and trade union representatives will help facilitate the development of a social protection scheme in Bangladesh for those suffering workplace injury.

Launched on Thursday in Dhaka, the 48 group members took part in recent international study visits and exchange programmes held with the support of the International Labour Organization and the German government to help them better understand the principles and operations of employee injury schemes.

Group members include representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Commerce, National Coordination Committee for Worker Education (NCCWE), IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), as well as workers from garment factories.

Speaking at the launch of the group at the Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management, Md. Mujibul Haque State Minister for Labour and Employment said, “The alumni group will support the retention and application of knowledge acquired from the visits. Group members will also facilitate others to understand more about workplace cooperation, occupational safety and health as well as social safety net initiatives at factory levels.”

The Government of Bangladesh is currently collaborating with the International Labour Organization and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), to establish an Employment Injury Protection and Rehabilitation scheme in Bangladesh. In the initial phase this will focus on the ready-made garment sector.

In November 2015, 17 participants travelled to Cambodia and Malaysia to gain first-hand experience of how employment injury insurance schemes in those countries operate and the challenges they face. Meanwhile, two exchange visits to Germany in August 2015 and April 2016 saw the 48 participants study the impacts of social dialogue mechanisms on working conditions, workers’ welfare and competitiveness.

Schultheiss, Chargé d’Affaires, German Embassy, Dhaka said, “Building institutional capacity will be a major challenge when establishing an Employment Injury Protection and Rehabilitation scheme in Bangladesh. This alumni group should provide the nucleus for these efforts and make a major contribution to the scheme’s development.”

Srinivas Reddy, ILO Country Director for Bangladesh said, “Those who took part in the study tours are encouraged to act as agents of change in promoting social dialogue and workplace injury compensation. This alumni forum will help facilitate information sharing, discussion and debate to help develop a sustainable employment injury protection and rehabilitation programme for the country.”

A working group will also be formed from amongst the alumni. This will undertake advocacy initiatives to sensitize factory owners to the need for injury prevention and rehabilitation. It will also foster relationships between government officials, union leaders, industry and development partners.

The Rana Plaza collapse and the subsequent efforts to provide compensation to victims highlighted the need for a national scheme to support employees and their families in event of accidents or injury at work. In October 2015, the ILO and German Government signed an agreement with the Government of Bangladesh to establish a national Employment Injury Protection and Rehabilitation scheme.

 

 

 

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

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