The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has welcomed the tripartite agreement signed on 23 February among Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC) for releasing detained workers who staged demonstration demanding higher minimum wages in December 2016 in Ashulia.
Quoting its country director Jim Moriarty, the Alliance said in a press release issued 28 February, “We are heartened that a constructive agreement has been reached through dialogue, and we now encourage the good faith implementation of that agreement. We also call on all parties to resolve any outstanding and future disagreements in a similar manner at the negotiating table and in accordance with Bangladesh law.”
The agreement came weeks after numerous labor rights advocates and workers were detained and interrogated for holding protests in Ashulia protesting rent increases and calling for higher minimum wages to support families, said the statement. In the agreement, all parties agreed to release detainees, reopen shuttered zonal offices and either pay or reinstate workers who were fired for taking part in protests. The signatories were further committed to ensuring sustainable relations among garment factories through peaceful dialogue between owners and workers, it added.
Alliance expressed its strong support for the rights of workers to organize and assert their rights to refuse work in dangerous conditions. The Alliance informed in the release that it consults closely with its Labor Committee on all matters related to workers’ rights, and by July 2018, Worker Safety Committees-groups of workers trained to monitor on-site occupational safety and health issues-will be established in a majority of Alliance factories.
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