Occupational Health & Safety

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men....
Together with its affiliates, BLF carries out ongoing campaign action for the universal respect of trade union rights. The BLF defends trade unionists whenever their fundamental human rights are violated as a result of their trade union activities. It also takes action against other labour rights violations and other violations of human rights especially where these affect working people.
Occupational Health and Safety is a major concern in the industrial zone in Bangladesh. Thousands of workers suffer every year because of unawareness and unsafe environmental condition in the factories. The BLF Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment aims to create awareness of the dimensions and consequences of work-related accidents, injuries and diseases. Our goal is to place the health and safety of all workers; and to stimulate and support practical action at all levels. We empower stakeholders towards to strong international health and safety standards and workers' rights to know about hazards, refuse or stop unsafe work and participate in health and safety decision making.
In Bangladesh the women’s participation in the labour force is covering behind that of men, but more and more women are now entering the labour force. Gender relations in Bangladesh have been undergoing a process of considerable transformation over the last two decades as part of broader process of economic transition and social change. However, the women often work at the lowest level of the jobs hierarchy in low pay, low status jobs with little employment security. The majority of women workers are engaged in the informal economy where the application of social protection and legislation is negligent. Serious gender-based inequalities continued to prevail in the labour market, as well as violence and sexual harassment against women. Equal opportunities for women existed neither in employment nor in education nor in vocational training. In addition, women continue to be mainly responsible for household duties and family care which add many hours every day to their workload despite their increasing role in earning money. It is important for men and women to work together to promote gender equality at work and at home, and to address social and cultural traditions regarding the role of women in society and resulting occupational segregation, in order to promote gender equality in practice. BLF has taken different activities and initiatives in respect to ensure gender equality and increase women participation, eliminate violence against women, protecting rights of female migrant workers
Social safety nets include both social security schemes such as guarantee of decent minimum wage; old age/ retirement benefits; unemployment insurance benefits; retrenchment compensations; medical care sickness and compensation for employment injury and death; maternity protection and issues specific to women as well as social and welfare programs, as determined in law, policy measures, contracts including collective bargaining agreements and international instruments. In Bangladesh the root of social security system and laws are based upon rules and regulation introduced by the British Colonial regime. There is no specific national policy at present on safety-net issue and very little discussion took place in society on this regard.
The approximate ratio of formal and informal sector in Bangladesh is 20:80 and the ratio between public and private sector is 30:70. However 51% of employment is covered by agriculture - forestry and fishery sector, the production and transport sector cover 6.4% of employment, 1% of employed people in clerical occupation, 4.5% in sales and 1.2% in service sector. It is revealed that most of the workers in informal sector are unaware about their rights where there are no job security, poor working environment, under payment and no benefits at all. BLF started campaign to build awareness through affiliated organization to build awareness and ensure the informal sector workers right.
Climate change and the excessive use of scarce resources are prompting urgent calls for a shift towards more sustainable development and greener economies. Trade unions are now committed to combat climate change. Ensuring our societies enter a trajectory which prevents catastrophic climate change is essential to the jobs and welfare of workers everywhere and to the long-term future of the planet. Achieving ambitious emission reductions and sustainable adaptation strategies is therefore a union issue. BLF works actively with its affiliates in positioning the labour movement in the climate agenda – on the need for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement, on emission reduction targets and differentiated responsibilities, on financing climate policies, among others – and on developing a comprehensive strategy for a “just transition” for workers and communities to ensure we all are part of a sustainable, low-carbon economy and benefit from decent and green jobs.
Women have increasingly become part of the paid workforce and of trade unions, and there have been important achievements in organising, collective bargaining, and rights. Yet they remain overrepresented in precarious, low-skilled, low-paid jobs with little prospects for career advancement. The great majority of workers in the informal economy, in export processing zones or in domestic work are women who make up nearly 70% of the world’s poor and 65% of the world’s illiterate. The BLF and its affiliated organisations work together to advance women’s rights and gender equality. The BLF actively promotes equality at the workplace and the full integration of women in trade unions including in their decision making bodies.
The HIV pandemic has become one of the most critical workplace issues of our time. In addition to its devastating impact on working women and men and their families and dependents, HIV affects the world of work in many ways. Stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS threatens fundamental rights at work, undermining opportunities for people to obtain decent work and sustainable employment. The employers’ and workers’ organisations have a specific role in promoting and supporting national and international efforts on HIV/AIDS in and through the world of work. And the workplace has a role in securing a non-discriminatory environment for people living with HIV. With support from donor organizations, BLF runs programs and provides a range of practical resources for unions and workers on strengthening our fight against this pandemic.
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