Workers’ social protection advocacy network launched

Trade unions, campaigners and rights organizations led by OSHE foundation on 3 October 2017 jointly formed an advocacy network for workers’ social protection.

The network launching program was organized by OSHE foundation at a national workshop titled ‘Social protection floor for workers: framing campaign goals for 2020’ at The Daily Star Center in Dhaka.

OSHE executive director A R Chowdhury Repon during the discussion said standard living and an effective social protection scheme should be ensured for all workers — informal and formal.  In order to ensure social protection for each worker, the government should allocate budget for it every year, he added.

Abu Mufakhir, programme coordinator of Asia Monitor Resource Centre, observed that governments of different countries allocate more funds for the military than for the social protection sector and they prefer private sectors to assume the responsibility of such protection.

OSHE vice chairperson Dr S M Morshed said social protection is a constitutional right but many workers don’t know about the social protection funds allocated for them by the government. Workers should be made aware of how and where they need to go to apply for their rightful benefits, he advised.

Abu Mufakhir, programme coordinator of Asia Monitor Resource Centre, observed that governments of different countries allocate more funds for the military than for the social protection sector and they prefer private sectors to assume the responsibility of such protection.

Pointing at systemic flaws, he said sometimes the workers covered under the protection scheme cannot even get their benefits due to bureaucratic tangles.

Labour leader Shah Md Abu Zafar said the prime objective of a social protection scheme is to assist a worker drawing minimum wage cope with her or his living expenses but the salary of a garment worker is not enough to meet the needs. Although a number of formal workers have some sort of social protection, the informal ones do not have any, he added.

Providing compensation to families of accident victims is unbefitting, Shah said, adding that each worker should be provided a lifelong financial security by the government or the employer.

Rezaul Haque, joint secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment, said government employees are covered under social security programmes and the same benefit needs to be ensured for all workers in the country.

A R Chowdhury Repon conducted the programme while worker representatives from both formal and informal sectors attended the session.

 

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