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Tannery workers raise 14 demands including wage board, job security

BSS . Dhaka
19 Sep 2023 23:25:11 | Update: 20 Sep 2023 00:21:32
Tannery workers raise 14 demands including wage board, job security

Tannery Workers Union (TWU), an association of tannery workers, on Tuesday urged the authorities concerned to fulfil their 14-point demand, including ensuring job security and social justice and formulation of a minimum wage board for them.

TWU president Abul Kalam Azad raised the demands at a coordination meeting organised by the Tannery Workers Union and Solidarity Centre at a city hotel this afternoon. The tannery industry's stakeholders took part in it.

"The other demands also include actual implementation of applicable national laws and regulations maintaining international standards, the establishment of legal and social justice through the practice of industrial democracy, skills-based human resource management, ensuring a neat, hygienic and safe work environment, implementation of labour welfare facilities and strengthening of non-discrimination mechanism at the workplace," he told the meeting.

Labour experts, representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Directorate of Factory and Establishment Inspection, Bangladesh Tanners Association, Labour Court Bar Association, representatives of Bangladesh Labour Rights Journalists Forum (BLRJF), Asia Foundation, GIZ Bangladesh, Solider Swiss Bangladesh, Oshi Foundation and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies were present there.

 TWU general secretary Abdul Malek said, "To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 with the target of 10 billion US dollars export income from the leather industry, the second largest export-earning industry, owners and tannery workers must work together."

The labour union leaders requested the authorities concerned to set up a 50-bed hospital for tannery workers and others concerned, ensure social compliance including full implementation of maternity welfare facilities, full implementation of waste management and CETP to build an eco-friendly and modern leather city, and move towards achieving the Leather Working Group (LWG) certificate.

They called for implementing a wage board for the tannery workers by 2024 in line with the minimum wage structure announced by the government in every factory and to stop terminating the skilled and experienced workers in the interest of the leather industry.

Bangladesh's leather industry is ranked second in terms of export earnings, where over five lakh workers work in about 206 tanneries countrywide. Because of its high-value addition, huge growth and employment opportunities, leather sector has already been declared a top priority sector.

Bangladesh accounts for a 3 per cent share of the global leather and products market. The GDP growth of over 5 per cent over the last decade shows the strength of the economy and its resilience, according to an official report.

In the coordination meeting of the stakeholders, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Mosammat Hajera Khatun and Trade Union Kendra General Secretary Dr Wajedul Islam Khan were present as the special guests.

Among others, Deputy Country Program Director of Solidarity Center Bangladesh Monica Hartsell, Program Country Director of Solidarity Center AKM Nasim, President of Bangladesh Labour Rights Journalists Forum (BLRJF) Kazi Abdul Hannan and BLRJF General Secretary Ataur Rahman, also spoke on the occasion.