A file photo shows firefighters dousing fire at a factory. A total of 729 workers were killed and 433 others injured in workplace accidents across the country in 2020, according to a survey conducted by a local non-governmental organisation. — New Age photo

A total of 729 workers were killed and 433 others injured in workplace accidents across the country in 2020, according to a survey conducted by a local non-governmental organisation.

Of the 729 deceased workers, 723 were men and six were women, the survey report said.

The Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies revealed the findings of the survey at a meeting held at the National Press Club in the capital, Dhaka, on Saturday.

The report also said that 593 labour unrests took place in different industrial sectors in the country in 2020.

The organisation prepared the report based on the information published in different newspapers.

According to the BILS survey, the highest 348 workers were killed in the transport sector, followed by the construction sector 84 and the agriculture sector 67.

Besides the three sectors, 49 day-labourers, 35 power sector workers, 27 fishing workers, 15 steel mill and re-rolling mill workers and 15 water transport workers were killed in workplace accidents in 2020.

The report showed that at least 593 labour unrests took place in different sectors in the country due to non-payment of wages and demanding rights.

It said that the highest 264 labour unrests took place in the readymade garment sector, followed by 49 in jute mills, 46 in sugar mills, 45 in the transport sector and 23 in the water transport sector.

BILS also found that at least 316 workers were died after torture in 2020 and most of the incidents took place outside their workplaces.

The highest 90 transport workers died after torture followed by 42 agriculture workers, 52 expatriate workers, 25 RMG workers and 16 domestic workers.

‘Bangladesh has made a fantastic economic progress in the last one decade but unfortunately workers in the country are still deprived of their rights,’ Shirin Akhter, parliament member and vice-president of BILS, said while addressing the event.

She said that the government provided incentives for the workers amid the COVID-19outbreak but many of the workers were yet to receive the benefits due to the mishandling of the fund.

Amirul Haque Amin, another vice-president of BILS, demanded 30 per cent risk allowance for the RMG workers who are working amid the coronavirus outbreak and said that the earnings of the workers decreased by 25-30 per cent after the outbreak.

He also criticised the factory owners’ proposal to hold the provision of 5 per cent yearly increment of workers’ wages for two years.

Naimul Ahsan Jewel, general secretary of Jatiya Sramik Jote Bangladesh, alleged that the government was trying to conceal from the workers who lost their income amid the COVID-19 outbreak the information on funds provided by the European Union and Germany for the export sector workers.

The European Union and Germany have provided a fund worth 113 million euros to support Bangladesh’s export sectors workers who became jobless and lost income due to the impact of coronavirus outbreak.

Naimul demanded including workers’ representatives to the fund implementation committee.



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