The informal sector of Bangladesh employs nearly 87% of the country’s total workforce, yet there remains serious lack of compliance to ensure decent work environment.

The workers working in the informal sector have significant contribution in keeping the country’s economy going and growing. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, we should put emphasis on protecting the rights of the workers giving them the environment of decent work.

To bring this call, ActionAid Bangladesh jointly with Dhaka Tribune organized a round table discussion ‘Decent Work for Young People: Employers’ Compliance and Workers’ Rights’ at Dhaka Tribune conference room on 19 June 2019.

Speakers from different sectors came together and pressed their opinions regarding the challenges and way forward.

“Women’s participation in the job market is on a decline as most of them are facing difficulties in following the career paths they choose for themselves. We must take initiatives to enhance the skills of our workers to get the best output from them.”

-Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)

“Many laws and rules focused on labour are amended (for the betterment of workers), but they are not implemented properly.”
– Farah Kabir, Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh

“A decent working atmosphere will push up employee productivity by a wide margin. Employers must ensure compliance to get better productivity from the workers.”
– Dr. Wajedul Islam Khan, acting Secretary General, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS)

“The government, in the recently proposed budget for the next fiscal year, vowed to create 30 million jobs annually by 2030, but this is a major challenge due to many conditions involved.”
– Reaz Ahmed, Executive Editor, Dhaka Tribune

“With Bangladesh on its way to achieve Vision 2021 targets and become a developed country by 2041, education and skills must go hand in hand.”

– Kabir Hossain, Access to Information (a2i) program official

“Despite being a formal sector, the apparel industry employs a number of people, mostly women, without any appointment letter, depriving them of all kinds of job benefits.”
– Farzana Afrin Tithi, research coordinator, Karmojibi Nari.

“Business incentive as well as awareness among employers and workers can sort out the loopholes in the informal sector.”
– Mamunur Rahman, Swisscontact Bangladesh

“The industry owners barely implement the minimum wage set by the government for workers.”
– Anwar Hossain, general secretary, Bangladesh Hotel Restaurant Sweetmeat Bakery Sramik Union

The round-table discussion was also addressed, among others, by Aslam Khan, general secretary at the Bangladesh Trade Union Centre, Mahenaw Wara, program manager of skill development at Brac, Md Abdullah Al Maamun, manager of youth and economic empowerment program at Plan International, and Mirza Nurul Ghani Shovon, chairman of Informal Sector Industry Skills Council.