Bangladesh launches trade unionist training programme


On Thursday Bangladesh launched a training scheme for trade unionists that aims to improve industrial relations, ahead of the fourth anniversary of a deadly factory building collapse.

Bangladesh, the second-largest clothing producer after China, was harshly criticised for poor factory safety and workers' rights after the April 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.

"This initiative will definitely help improve relations between the workers and the owners in the garment sector," State Labour Minister Mujibul Haque said on inaugurating the programme.

Seventeen mid-level trade union leaders from different sectors, including the garments industry, will undergo the three-month training that covers issues including workers' rights, trade and globalisation, labour policy and global supply chains.

Germany-based non-profit organisation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) with its Bangladeshi partners initiated the Academy of Work training programme, which aims to create an all-inclusive representation of workers' interests and a more effective social dialogue.

"Bangladesh has advanced a lot after the disaster in terms of ensuring workers' rights and safety, but it has still long way to go," said FES vice chairman Michael Sommer.

Sommer, also a former president of the International Trade Union Confederation, advised Bangladesh to modernise labour laws to keep its economy competitive in the global market.

Successful completion of the programme will equip the participants with a comprehensive understanding of decent work in the global supply chain, said Franziska Korn, resident representative of FES Bangladesh. It will also contribute to creating an effective dialogue among independent trade unions, employers and the government of Bangladesh, she added.    (dpa)

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