Governments and employers have already begun to take steps to address the effects of climate change, but there is no room for lagging behind in effectively including workers and their legislative representative trade unions in the process. Rather, it is necessary to immediately include the trade union in the policy making and policy implementation to deal with the damage as per the commitment given by the Bangladesh government at the international level to ensure social dialogue and sustainable development through the tripartite mechanism. The speakers said this at the opening ceremony of a programme titled “Green Social Dialogue of Trade Unions in the Garment Industry of Bangladesh” organized by the initiative of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies-BILS in cooperation with German-based organization GIZ, at a local hotel in the capital today, 17 September 2023. The main objective of this program under implementation in the Gazipur-Tongi area is to empower women and youth trade union workers to raise awareness of environmental and social standards of garment workers beyond workplace, so that they can play a leading role in raising awareness about climate change in the local community. Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment Md. Mujibul Haque, MP, was present as the chief guest in this event organized under the chairmanship of BILS Vice Chairman Md. Mojibur Rahman Bhuiyan. The event was attended by climate experts, researchers and media representatives, including leaders from SKOP and National Trade Union Federations.
Underscoring recent research data, if the temperature in Bangladesh rises by 1.5 degrees Celsius, the number of workers in the labour supply chain will decrease by 16 percent in the next decade, the speakers said, research-based data should be generated for the victims and presented immediately at the policy-making level. Speakers insisted on a one per cent climate levy from the garment industry, saying the money could be used to create a climate resilience fund that would benefit workers. Also, by emphasizing on productivity risk insurance, the speakers demanded to include the issue of environmental protection in the next election manifesto. Urging the trade union to be united in the establishment of green dialogue, the speakers said that all the dialogues that are being held at the international level on carbon emissions should be implemented effectively. The speakers said that the programme can play a vital role in bringing the issues related to the environmental and social rights of workers to the political priority agenda and increasing the capacity of trade unions in developing leadership in this field.
BILS Executive Council Secretary Abul Kalam Azad and Sakil Akhtar Chowdhury, President of Jatiya Sramik Federation Kamrul Ahsan, General Secretary of Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik Jote Badal Khan, Joint Coordinator of Garment Workers Employers Unity Council (G-SKOP) Naimul Ahsan Jewel and Md Nurul Amin, General Secretary of Industrial Bangladesh Council Kutubuddin Ahmed, General Secretary of Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress Pulak Ranjan Dhar, President of Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik Federation Shamim Ara, General Secretary of Bangladesh Sramik Federation AAM Faiz Hossain, General Secretary of Samajtantrik Sramik Front Ahsan Habib Bulbul, Jatiya Sramik League Secretary of trade union coordination Feroz Hossain, BILS Director Nazma Yesmin and Project Coordinator Md Yousuf Al Mamun, GIZ Senior Advisor Sarwat Ahmed and Advisor Stephen Siegle, International Climate Finance Expert M Zakir Hossain Khan, Islamic Foundation Deputy Director Anwar Kabir, Gazipur Journalist Union President Ataur Rahman spoke at the event among others.