Thursday, May 9, 2013

In solidarity with garment workers

  •   Photo- Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune
Members representing the Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI) are deeply saddened and angered by the most recent tragedy in the Bangladesh garment industry. Which, in our view, was the result of unmitigated greed, corruption, criminal negligence, and was entirely avoidable.

Act against errant bosses

PRAI: THE Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Penang division has urged the Human Resources Ministry to be more proactive in implementing the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

They want the ministry to be firm and act on those who violate or refuse to implement the Act.
MTUC claimed that at least three workers die daily in relation to health and safety at the work places, and this figure did not include commuter-related accidents.
MTUC also appealed to the government to take a serious view and pay funeral expenses subsidies to families of deceased workers irrespective of the circumstance of death.
In making the call, MTUC Penang division chairman S. Ravindran said only those who die during working hours or die in a road accident while commuting from their house to work and back were being paid.
"This should not be the case as payment for funeral expenses should be a 24-hour coverage and the family of the deceased should be entitled to the payment," he said at the MTUC Penang Division Workers Memorial Day event recently.
Ravindran said the dead worker's family was entitled to the payment as the worker and his employer had been contributing to Socso which is under the preview of the Human Resources Ministry.
"We call upon  Human Resources Minister  to address the issue immediately and amend the Act so that families of the deceased can receive the one-off payment.
"MTUC Penang also urges the government to implement Acts and rules that are favourable  to the workers, who are the pillars of development in the country.

  "We also appeal to the government to review the Social Security Act which is more favourable to the employers," he said.
  Ravindran, who is also the Penang Municipal Services Union president, said the Act's real intention was to act as a security for the workers, but the countless amendments to the Act over the years has resulted in workers losing out on  benefits.
  He cited an example: workers who go for Friday prayers were not covered  as the Act strictly stipulates commuting accidents only covered a worker from his house to the work place and back, and that too within the stipulated time with no diversions allowed.   
He said this ruling was unfair as workers would at times need to fuel up at petrol stations or go to shops or markers  to  make purchases.

About 1,000 people from the private and public sectors and management representatives participated in the memorial day ceremony held at the memorial monument near the Penang Bridge toll gate in Prai recently.

  The memorial monument was constructed by  contractors who build the Penang Bridge in memory of the more than 30 workers who had died during its construction.
Among those present were  former national MTUC president Senator Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud, MTUC secretary-general N. Gobal Krishnan,  former MTUC Penang division chairman Abdul Razak Hamid and Professor Dr P. Ramasamy.
  Also present were state MTUC secretary K. Veeriah, union officials and members, employers representatives and government department officials.
 Ravindran said the theme of the memorial remained the same: "Mourn for the dead, fight for the living".  
  He said the most common deaths among workers was road accidents involving those who were commuting to and from work on motorcycles, and industrial accidents.
  He lamented that among the common injuries were back aches, TB, cancer, inhaling slow killing poisonous gases, dust, and losing of limbs due to accidents at work places.

The memorial monument in Prai was constructed in memory of the more than 30 workers who had died during the construction of Penang bridge. Pic by K. Kandiah