Bangladesh par­lia­ment amends la­bor law

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

Bangladesh’s par­lia­ment amended the coun­try’s la­bor law on July 15 in re­sponse to mass protests and mount­ing po­lit­i­cal pres­sures af­ter more than 1,200 gar­ment work­ers were killed on the job.

To win recog­ni­tion, unions still need the sup­port of at least 30 per­cent of the work­ers at a work­place, but the labour min­istry is now barred from the prac­tice of turn­ing over a black­list of union sup­port­ers to the boss.

Lead­ers of Bangladeshi worker fed­er­a­tions say the change is still in­ad­e­quate and sharply crit­i­cized other pro­vi­sions in the amended law.

On April 24, Rana Plaza, an eight- storey build­ing hous­ing five gar­ment fac­to­ries, shops and a bank in Savar, 20 miles from the cap­i­tal Dhaka, caved in. In spite of ma­jor vis­i­ble cracks in the wall the day be­fore — prompt­ing evac­u­a­tion of the bank and shops — gar­ment bosses pres­sured work­ers to re­turn to work the next morn­ing. About an hour into the work­day the build­ing col­lapsed, killing more than 1,100 work­ers.

Tens of thou­sands of work­ers took to the streets in re­sponse. A wave of strikes and other demon­stra­tions de­manded ar­rest of bosses and land­lords, com­pen­sa­tion to fam­i­lies of work­ers killed and wage raises in the in­dus­try.

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