JILAF held this fiscal year’s first promotion meeting for the SGRA (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) project in Bangladesh and a seminar for regional working group members in Dhaka on April 10–11, 2014. The seminar was attended by all 36 regional working group members from the three regions of Bogra, Khulna, and Chittagong, where the SGRA project is being implemented.
At the project promotion meeting, an official of the Bangladesh Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-BC) gave a report on achievements in fiscal 2013, explaining that 93 out of 151 people who had completed vocational training had found jobs or work or started their own businesses and that an improvement of incomes was evident. In addition, regional group representatives exhibited and explained works by people who had completed training in the “batik-boutique” technique and sewing. Regarding trainees who were still looking for work, Secretary General Ahmed Farooq of the Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF) suggested that it would be possible to request job-seeking assistance from local chambers of commerce and industry in the three regions.
After that, discussions took place on life support seminars, training of trainers seminars, and the content of vocational training in the current fiscal year, as well as the establishment of cooperative societies in the next fiscal year. The parties concerned reaffirmed their determination to cooperate in order to improve and raise the living standards of informal-sector workers.
The joint seminar for the three regional working groups opened with a lecture by JILAF Executive Director Hisashige Danno titled “Building a Cooperative Setup toward Success of the Bangladesh SGRA Project in Fiscal 2014.” In his two-hour talk, Executive Director Danno emphasized the significance of the SGRA project and requested the regional working group members for their active cooperation. Among other things, he pointed out that at present the growth engine of the world economy is shifting once again to Asia and that Bangladesh also has been achieving striking economic growth in recent years following the entry of companies from major developed countries, especially in the light industry. However, he said, informal-sector workers account for more than 85% of Bangladesh’s labour force, and the problem of inequalities is becoming increasingly evident. Executive Director Danno also stressed that achieving success in the SGRA project, which contributes to improving and raising the living standards of informal-sector workers, will be not only a good opportunity to gain the social trust of trade unions but also secondarily a positive move toward the organization of workers and expansion of trade unions.
|04/10||Thu||First project promotion meeting|
|04/11||Fri||Joint seminar for regional working groups|