Govt yet to make rules to implement labour law

The government has still not formulated rules for implementing the amended labour law, which is one of the key requirements for regaining Bangladesh’s GSP in the US.

This is despite the parliament’s adoption of the amended law more than one and a half years ago, reports the Daily Star.

“We were supposed to formulate the rules a lot earlier. But, we are still discussing stakeholders’ opinions, to incorporate those into the rules,” said Mikail Shipar, child labourlabour and employment secretary.

“Considering opinions from the many sectors that are under the purview of the labour law has delayed the formulation of the rules, even though the draft of the rules has already been written,” Shipar said.

After the twin industrial disasters—Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza building collapse—the government amended the labour law allowing fullGovt yet to make rules to implement labour law freedom of association by workers at the factory level.

Under the amended labour law, the government has also allowed formulation of more than 236 trade unions in garment factories over the last one and a half years.

The US government also gave a set of 16 conditions for regaining the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences), which was suspended for Bangladesh on June 27 in 2013 citing serious shortcomings in workplace safety and labour rights.

Amendment to the labour law and formulation of the rules were major among the 16 conditions imposed by the US, which are collectively called the Action Plan for GSP retention. Bangladesh has already submitted the progress reports on the Action Plan twice, to regain GSP.

But, the GSP scheme is currently suspended by the United States Trade Representative, the chief trade negotiation body of the US government, for all beneficiary countries since July 31 of 2013.

The government hopes the country will regain the GSP as almost all the conditions have been fulfilled, with both government and private sector initiatives.

Meanwhile, a total of 628 trade bodies, chambers and enterprises of the US have again urged the US Congress to revive the GSP programme.

After the suspension of the GSP, American companies have paid nearly $2 million a day and more than $1 billion up to February 23 in duties.

The Public Service Commission has already recruited 200 additional factory inspectors, which was another requirement for GSP reinstatement, Shipar said.

The ministry has total 523 posts for labour inspectors. “With the recruitment of the 200 additional inspectors, we have nearly 400 inspectors now,” he told The Daily Star.