There is no reason for our valiant workers to be an afterthought. They deserve better
The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) statements, calling for the occupational safety and health (OSH) of all workers in all industries to be looked at as a national priority, are timely and important, and must not be looked at lightly.
While it is true that worker safety has come a long way, particularly in the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy, we have a long way to go before we can claim to have an environment that our workers feel safe to work in.
Indeed, for many workers, they are often deprived of even basic worker rights such as sick leave or unemployment benefits, and have little choice but to continue on. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, where most workers have continued to work despite lockdowns and restrictions, it painted an even grimmer picture, and their lives have never been more at risk.
Bangladesh’s RMG industry, which is built on the blood and sweat of its workers, is often guilty of not looking after its workers as well as it should, but unfortunately, this is not unique to just this industry, but across all sectors, and it is high time that something is done about it.
To that end, the fact that the ILO has provided tools to implement OSH measures are encouraging, but ultimately, it will come down to how serious the country, and the respective sectors within the country, are in bringing about this much needed change, and looking after the workers and their safety.
The world continues to struggle in combating Covid-19, but in the meantime, there is no reason for our valiant workers to be an afterthought. They deserve better.