Realistic decision to be taken on trade union at EPZ

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DHAKA : Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed today said the government would take realistic decisions on forming trade unions at Export Processing Zones (EPZs).

“Labourers have been allowed to form workers’ welfare associations likewise trade unions in EPZs where they are bargaining with owners for their rights and both parties are now satisfied with it,” he added.

The minister was talking to media after having a meeting with a six-member delegation from Germany, led by Vice Chairman of Frieedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and former President of International Trade Union Confederation Michael Sommer at his ministry office.

Mentioning that nearly 4 lakh labourers are working in eight EPZs where they get more salaries and other benefits than others outside, he said: “EPZs’ labourers are interested to form trade unions only for them and they don’t want to elect any outsider as their leader.”

Tofail said they have ensured safe and working-friendly atmosphere for labourers as well as revised labour law to ensure their rights.

Citing that seven green factories among ten globally certified by the United States Green Building Council are in Bangladesh, the minister said: “Although huge investment has been made for these green factories, the buyers are reluctant to increase price rather price is being decreased.”

Terming Germany as good friend and development partner of Bangladesh, Michael Sommer said Germany wants to increase trade with the country.

Bangladesh has done many more for labourers and they are now safer than any other period in the past, but Germany wants to the ILO labour law implemented, he added.

German Ambassador Dr Thomas Prinz, FES Asia and the Pacific Chief Jurgen Stetten, Bangladesh Resident Representative Franziska Korn, Additional Secretaries Munsi Shafiul Huq and M Shafikul Islam and WTO cell of the ministry Director General Munir Chowdhury were present.

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