PM stresses worker-owner's responsible role in country's prosperity
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the workers and owners of the industries and factories to play a responsible role in ensuring each other's rights and country's prosperity.
"The owners invest money and workers give labour in a factory. Their investment and toil keep the factory running alongside increasing production and thus the country's economy becomes strengthened," she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing a discussion on Great May Day at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
She virtually joined the function from her official Ganabhaban residence in the city.
The premier asked the labour leaders not to pay heed to the foreigners' prescriptions in solving problems rather to settle those with their own ways.
Sheikh Hasina said that all have their own responsibilities to run an organisation.
She said the owners will have to ensure appropriate salary for the labourers and suitable environment and safety measures for the workers while the workers have to give their best efforts to run the factories.
"It's the labourers' duty to work sincerely to keep their factories, where they work for livelihoods, operative and it's the owners' duty to ensure the well-being, working environment and safety of the labour force," she said.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that Bangladesh will go ahead if there remains a cordial relationship between the owners and workers of the industries and they work complementarily with each other.
She said the owners and workers should cherish the spirit of the May Day and take the country forward.
The prime minister spelled out her government’s various measures to ensure labourers’ welfare that included increasing minimum salary range, building dormitories, ratifying ILO conventions and protocols, establishing Bangladesh Shramik Kallayan Foundation and enacting necessary laws and rules.
She said some labour leaders are still running after the foreigners to solve the problems of Bangladesh's industries.
She added: "I don't know why some labour leaders make complaints to the foreigners although we have done many things for the welfare of them--- I don't know if there is anything that serves their interest or anything to exchange."
The prime minister urged the labour leaders to meet her if there is any problem, saying that she can realise the demands of labourers from the owners.
She criticized the so-called labour leaders who go to the foreigners with complaints about the country's labour situation and are inclined to involve the foreigners to resolve problems instead of finding local solutions.
"We're able to solve our own problems. I would like to tell the labour leaders to come to me if you have any problem instead of crying before the foreigners. If there is anything beneficial for the labourers, I can realise it from the owners," she said.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Ministry Begum Monnujan Sufian gave chairperson’s remarks while Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labour and Employment M Mujibul Haque spoke.
Country Director of ILO (International Labour Organisation) Tuomo Poutiainen, President of Bangladesh Employers' Federation (BEF) Ardashir Kabir, and Acting President of the Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik League Nur Kutub Alam Mannan also spoke on the occasion while Secretary of the Labour and Employment Ministry Md. Ehsane Elahi gave the address of welcome.
On behalf of the prime minister, Begum Monnujan Sufian handed over the cheques of financial assistance to 10 labourers and their family members from the fund of Bangladesh Shramik Kallayan Foundation.
A documentary on the activities of the Labour and Employment Ministry was also screened at the function.
The prime minister stressed the need for forging unity of owners and workers and solving their problems through discussions.
Referring to this year's theme of the Great May Day, "Shramik-Malik Ekota Unnnyaner Nischoita (Workers-owners unity, assurance of development)" she said, "Development requires cordial relations between the owners and workers."
Sheikh Hasina said her government is implementing 90 percent of the annual development plan with own financing which was earlier done by the money from the foreign funds and building of the Padma Bridge with own finance is the main testimony for the country.
"We don't need to go to the foreigners," she said with a proud voice, mentioning that Bangladesh is now a self-reliant country in food production.
Bangladesh turned into a developing nation, she said, adding her government is working to make the country a developed and prosperous one by giving people an improved and better life as envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Hasina said though Bangladesh is an agricultural country, it dearly needs industrialization for desired development.
So, the government has given importance to industrialization in a planned way without harming the arable lands and has been setting up 100 economic zones across the country which would create new employment opportunities and increase production, she said.
Paying her rich tributes to the heroes of May Day, the prime minister said they have established the workers' rights through their supreme sacrifice.
Since independence, Sheikh Hasina said the Bangabandhu and Awami League government was always dedicated to the welfare of the working class people, adding that Bangladesh has so far signed 36 ILO protocols and conventions for protection of the rights of the workers.
"I do not know whether any country in the world signs so many ILO protocols and conventions," she added.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his every step, had demonstrated himself as a dedicated person for the oppressed people, she said.
"We believe in Bangabandhu's ideology,” she continued.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu nationalized all abandoned industries after independence to protect the workers' rights and declared May 1 a public holiday.
"So it's our duty to work for the labourers," she said.