A weekly round up of articles about employment, the labour market, skills training and workforce development. This week’s round up is drawn from The Daily Star. Here is the news for the week ending 28th April 2016.
This week in the Bangladesh English Press…
…the country remembers the Rana Plaza collapse and looks forward to ways improvements can be made to worker’s safety and working conditions. Water transport workers continue to strike, keeping many stranded across the country. New studies and projects encourage growth in Bangladesh, citing the potential this country has over the next few decades.
Remembering Rana Plaza
This week marks three years since the Rana Plaza collapse where thousands lost their life with many more injured. Since then, those affected by the incident have sought recompense, often to no avail. Many survivors note lingering physical injuries, and debilitating mental trauma as factors inhibiting their return to full time work. Even while factories have promised to find ex-Rana Plaza workers employment, many have still not found suitable jobs, or enough support from the government or international organizations to fully recover. Some have said they are unwilling to return to work in factories, citing trauma from the incident, and instead have pursued other forms of employment. Continued work from organizations, government, and factory owners is needed to help support the victims of the incident.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) praised improvements to safety standards and working conditions in the ready made garments industry. TIB reported that since the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, 77 percent of all the initiatives introduced have made significant progress. They also noted that almost half of the repair works have been completed, and almost all workers are receiving minimum wage. TIB was happy to share these result this past week as they hope Bangladesh can continue to make progress with regard to safety and conditions.
Adding to the improvements made in the past few years, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a new $30-million USD loan deal with BRAC bank to finance upgrades for garment factories in Bangladesh. There are substantial challenges that still slow progress in terms of factory safety, worker health, working conditions, however recent steps towards safer buildings has encouraged private investors and larger international organizations
Discontent amongst water transport workers
Water cargo transport workers remain in indefinite strike over wages and other benefits, even as workers for passenger vessels returned to work. The strike has lasted since late last week and threatens to cripple water based shipments across the country. They demand a minimum wage of Tk 10,000 that the owners will adhere to, increase in overtime pay, and bonuses for working over festivals. As passenger vessel workers return to work, many people who had been stranded in terminals across the country will be able to find passage, although services are returning to full capacity at varying speeds.
Spurring employment and economic growth
According to the UNDP’s latest study on human development in Asia, a growing workforce population will fuel development in Bangladesh, but will also require better policies and institutions to handle growing pressure. There have been some recent steps to improve the social protection for workers, including offering new services. The government is launching a new healthcare insurance initiative for government employees and garment workers.
The completion of upgrades to the airport in Cox’s Bazar is expected to generate more international tourism, and possibly create as many as 300,000 new jobs in the tourism industry, reports the BBS.
That’s the news for the week ending on April 28th.