DHAKA (ILO News) – Workers in the export-oriented ready-made garments (RMG) sector are set to benefit from enhanced social security through income protection following the launch of a new initiative by the Ministry of Labor and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Netherlands and Germany (GIZ).
Today, the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE), in collaboration with the ILO, officially launched the Workers’ Compensation Pilot Program through a launch ceremony. MP and Honorable Advisor to Prime Minister Salman F Rahman opened the event in the presence of Minister of State, MoLE Begum Monnujan Sufian, Secretary, MoLE Md. Ehsan-E- Elahi, ILO Country Director Tuomo Poutiainen, and senior embassy officials from Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. Senior representatives from BGMEA, BKMEA, workers associations, development partners and other national stakeholders also participated in the ceremony.
Bearing in mind that workers in the garment industry play a remarkable role in the growth of the country’s GDP, it is important to consider their rights and safety as a priority. This installation will be extended to other economic sectors if the EIS pilot project is successful. Since 2013, the ILO and GIZ have been working with the Government of Bangladesh and industry partners to ensure social and financial security for workers. As a continuation of the process, after several tripartite consultations, the Government of Bangladesh decided to introduce a periodic payment scheme for work injuries, disabilities and fatalities in the RMG industry.
At the inaugural event, Mr. Tuomo Poutiainen, Director, ILO-CO-Bangladesh highlighted the ILO’s approach to improving social protection for workers in Bangladesh. In his speech, he mentioned that “The launch of the ‘Work Injury Protection’ program for RMG workers in Bangladesh is an important and historic step in strengthening accident protection in the country. The ILO is pleased to support this effort and to work with government, employers and workers to create a modern and contemporary compensation system for workers and their families that protects their income and allows them to live when they need it. need it the most. Such a system also promotes sustainable business practices and provides the right kind of signals to investors; while Bangladesh is gradually modernizing its social protection systems for the benefit of all.
Speakers at the event welcomed the project idea and shared their thoughts on the initiative. Guest of Honour, Mr. Salman F Rahman, MP, Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister, said, “Social Security is high on the agenda of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
Mr. Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Employment, Government of Bangladesh, thanked the ILO and said: “This is a historic day as we are launching the first ever social insurance, as envisaged in the ‘National Social Security Strategy’. We are privileged to ensure that the pilot project is designed in accordance with “international labor standards”, taking into account national parameters. »
Speaking at the event, Mr. Faruque Hassan, Chairman of BGMEA said, “Bangladesh’s garment industry has made significant progress in the areas of safety and sustainability, particularly worker welfare and industrial relations. The pilot of the ‘Employment Injury Scheme’ will contribute to the social well-being of workers and employers and above all to the improvement of the country’s social security system. As we are committed to ensuring the safety, dignity and well-being of our workers, we look forward to collaborating on initiatives that benefit our industry and our workers. »
Ms. Shamim Ara, President of NCCWE, said that through this pilot project, workers have taken a step forward in freeing themselves from accidental nightmares. This measure will ensure the safety of workers and prevent their helplessness due to accidents at work.
During this event, Mr. Bas Blaauw, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said that “the Netherlands is proud to support the launch of a pilot project on accident insurance working in Bangladesh, building on the groundwork established with partners in previous years.. This pilot has the potential to be a win-win situation, as social protection and sector competitiveness go hand in hand. The Netherlands looks forward to working with all relevant stakeholders to make the pilot a success.”
Mr. Johannes Schneider, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, said: “The EIS pilot can rightly be seen as the culmination of this reform process: with the addition of the pilot, we now have, for the first time, an insurance scheme against accidents at work which meets international standards in terms of compensation and which effectively protects workers and their families against falling into poverty as a result of accidents work and occupational diseases.
About the Work Injury Scheme (EIS): Work Injury Protection is one of the nine branches of social protection recognized by the ILO for all workers under its Social Security Convention ( Minimum Standard), 1952 (No. 102). With the increase in industrial and commercial activities in Bangladesh, the number of work-related accidents is inevitable to increase. For this, on the one hand, a number of initiatives are being taken to improve preventive measures aimed at reducing accidents – while on the other hand, the government and the ILO are working to develop a better system of “compensation » for victims of accidents at work. The Government of Bangladesh has already made this issue a priority and highlighted it in the action plan of the second phase of the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS).
It is expected that through this successful pilot project, workers and their families will benefit from an improved income protection system. The ILO will continue technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh and industry partners throughout the establishment period of the EIS to make it functional and sustainable, as well as to build the capacity of the administration. public on the EIS.