US trade benefit, GSP: Committee to review Labour Act

The government has constituted a high-powered committee to further review the recently approved Labour Act following the withdrawal of GSP privilege by the US.The 11-strong committee includes four ministers, one state minister and the chief of a parliamentary watchdog.
Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain is the convenor of the committee that also includes Labour and Employment Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, Commerce Minister GM Quader, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian and Israfil Alam, Chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The Cabinet Division announced the names of the committee members following a decision taken at cabinet meeting on Jul 1.
The committee will have one representative each from both workers and owners’ organisations besides secretaries of Commerce, Labour and Employment ministries.
The amended Labour Act-2013 is awaiting an approval from the parliament after getting a nod from the cabinet.
Despite this measure, the US however suspended the GSP privilege to Bangladeshi products on June 27 saying the internationally recognised worker rights have not been implemented. Various Bangladeshi products used to get duty free access to the US under this privilege.
Washington took the decision in response to the pressure from workers’ organisations in the United States in the wake of collapse of Rana Plaza and the fire at Tazreen Fashion where several workers lost their lives. The United States also mentioned that besides ‘failing’ to provide safe factories, Bangladesh government did not provide the workers the right to form labour unions.
The Cabinet Division’s order to form a committee states that the panel would advise on the requisite amendments to the Labour Act on issues such as maintenance of proper environment for investment, increase of productivity, preservation of worker rights, maintenance of discipline in industrial institutions after taking the opinions of countries that import products from Bangladesh.
The committee is entitled to accept any individual as member if necessary.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment will provide the secretarial support to the committee. –

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