Speakers at a consultation yesterday called for fixing minimum wages for migrant workers and increasing cooperation between the labour sending and receiving countries to ensure rights of the workers who are the lifeline of the national economy. Terming that the rights of the migrant labourers should be the cornerstone of the overseas employment policy of Bangladesh, they said increasing collaboration among the government, civil society and the private sector is a must to promote the causes of the workers.
Bangladesh chapter of Migrants’ Forum in Asia organised the national consultation on ‘Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
WARBE Development Foundation, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Ain O Salish Kendra and Association for Community Development are the members of the chapter. The 2nd GFMD consultation will be held in October in the Philippines.
Speaking as the chief guest, Foreign Secretary Touhid Hossain said employers in the labour receiving countries should ensure that migrant workers receive minimum wages to make their temporary migration a success.
Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training Director General Abdul Malek said all the stakeholders — the government, private sector and civil society organisations — should work together to promote the interest of migrant workers, because they are playing a significant role for the national economy.
Former adviser Sultana Kamal said large-scale campaign should be initiated to create mass awareness on the process of migration and their rights.
Prof. Tasneem Siddiqui of RMMRU emphasised on developing a database of returnee migrants so that their skills can be better utilised at home.
RMMRU Coordinator Dr CR Abrar underscored the need for developing a platform of the labour sending countries to effectively negotiate with the receiving countries about a common minimum wage.
WARBE Development Foundation Chair Syed Saiful Haque said the consultation provided an important opportunity to develop a national policy on migration and development that will include the voices of affected migrants together with advocates, government officials, media, remittance companies, recruitment agencies and trade unions.
MFA Project Coordinator Debayani Kar presented a keynote paper, while BAIRA President Ghulam Mustafa, Salima Sarwar of Association for Community Development, BMET directors Selim Reza and Dr Nurul Islam, Dr Hamid Rashid and Baira member Abdul Alim also spoke.
The Daily Star
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Friday, July 11, 2008 12:07 AM GMT+06:00