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Meeting with LO-FTF Officials at Chittagong BILS Office

Meeting with LO-FTF Officials at Chittagong BILS OfficeA meeting was held between LO-FTF officials and SBWTUF leadership on June 16, 2017 at BILS–LRSC Chittagong. The meeting was presided over by SBWTUF convener Tapan Dutta.

SBWTUF Joint convener A. M. Nazimuddin, forum Treasurer Rizwanur Rahman Khan, forum Members Mahabubul Alom, K. S. Nurullah Bahar, Md. Samsul Hoque Safi, Nurul Absar Bhuyia, Md. Ali, K. M. Sahidullah, Kazi Anowarul Hoque (Hony), local leaders of different sectors and some activists were present in the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, Tapan Dutta said that the ship breaking sector of Bangladesh is hazardous and risky sector. Once the condition of ship breaking sector workers was horrifying but gradually the condition is improving due to the activities of SBWTUF.

Forum Member, K M Sahidullah said that still ship breaking workers are victim of different kinds of accidents and violence. The main reason of their deprivation is lack of appointment letter and identity card. Though some trade union and one federation formed but still workers of this sector are not enjoying Trade Union rights. Even, during workplace accident and death, owners usually try to hide the incident. He mentioned that though the government prohibited the ship owners not to run night shift in the yards, but it is going on. Workers work in the yards no work no pay basis. Shahidullah said that owners are reluctant to provide compensation but due to pressure and lobby of SBWTUF, now a few owners are giving compensation to the injured and dead workers.

Forum member Md Ali said that ship breaking sector is contributing in Bangladesh national economy but workers of this sector is deprived. The government has declared this sector as industry but workers of this sector lack proper wages, leave and recognition.

LO/FTF Council Head of Programmes, Jorgen Assens was impressed by this visit. He said that international community knows the horrible condition of ship breaking workers of Bangladesh and role of SBWTUF. He urged the forum leaders to focus on future activities, which are most essential, as there are many problems to be addressed.

SBWTUF Convener Tapan Dutta said, ‘We need to prevent accident. Employers must be compelled to provide Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPE), amendment of Labour Law and proper implementation of Labour Law is also essential’.

International Consultant of LO-FTF Council Lone Ilum Christiansen said that they are very hopeful for the role of SBWTUF in Chittagong. If SBWTUF continue their activities, in future the workers condition will improve. LO-FTF will continue their cooperation to improve the present situation, she added.