Experts for conducting dialogues to recover labour market during COVID-19


DHAKA, April 17,2021 (BSS) – Experts at an virtual dialogue today said, after the profound impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy, particularly on the world of work during the first half of 2020, a significant part since then has been struggling for rebounding and recovery.

The major struggle has been confronted by different worker groups, including regular, temporary workers and particularly those self-employed and involved in MSMEs, commerce, tourism and other informal sectors.

To this end, trade union policy strategy should focus on the world of work, particularly highlighting the workers of those who are organised and unorganised and effective social dialogues will be the key for recovery of the labour market during COVID-19, they opined.

These observations emerged at the virtual dialogue on-` Recovery of the Labour Market during COVID-19: Role of Trade Union’ jointly organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), said a press release.

CPD’s Executive Director, Dr Fahmida Khatun, and Mr Nazrul Islam Khan, Secretary-General and Executive Director, BILS delivered the introductory remarks at the dialogue.

They remarked that the rebounding and recovery of the world of work particularly those of workers and employers have been supported mainly by different public policies and interventions.

These public policies and employers’ actions have been primarily influenced by the active participation of the trade unions.

Like other countries, trade unions in Bangladesh have played an active role both in humanitarian issues and workers’ rights issues during this crisis period.

A detailed review of their activities would help understand the nature and extent of their engagement, their capacities in influencing national and international policies and employers’ activities, as well as the gaps in activities where further engagement is expected in the future, they added.

In this backdrop, this study has revisited the role of trade unions in Bangladesh during the pandemic period to identify a set of policy proposals for influencing the process of sustainable recovery of the labour market.

Research Director of CPD Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem made the keynote presentation at the dialogue and said that different tripartite discussions and negotiations that have been undertaken during this crisis period had ensured limited success in favour of workers and MSMEs regarding coping with the risks and rebounding and recovery from the crisis.

K. M. Abdus Salam, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, a Guest of Honour at the dialogue, mentioned all stakeholders are heard with equal importance and monitoring is taking place regularly through the central monitoring committee.

Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO Country Office, Dhaka also joined the virtual dialogue as the other Guest of Honour.

He remarked that the government should focus on providing social safety net to labours in both formal and informal sectors.

The Special Guest, Ms Shirin Akhter, MP, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Primary and Mass Education and vice chairman, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) reiterated the need for continued social dialogue with the participation of all.

She also called for increasing the number of enlisted organised labours.

Tripartite coordination is vital to reduce communication gap among stakeholders, said the Chair of the session Mr Syed Manzur Elahi, Treasurer, CPD Board of Trustees, and chairman, Apex group.

He opined that it is the responsibility of the government to organise participatory social dialogue.

Among others, government officials, business leaders, development activists, experts and academia, representatives from the development partners and media professionals also spoke at the webinar.