Initiatives to promote international labour standards

By Uttam Kumar Das, LL.M. (USA), Ph.D. (Law)
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to promote social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. In doing so it is pursuing its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity.
ILO helps to advance the creation of decent work and the economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress. Its tripartite structure provides a unique platform for promoting decent work for all women and men. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.
International Labour Standards (ILS) adopted by the ILO are important tools for the development of national legislation. However, the contribution of the international labour law is not limited to its impact on labour legislation. ILS can also contribute to strengthening domestic case laws on labour matters.
Thus, international labour laws are highly valuable resources for judges and lawyers seeking to settle labour disputes.
With expansion of industries and economic activities needs for focus on ILS and national labour legislation are becoming important and focused. It requires trained and skilled judges, lawyers and practitioners.
Keeping this objective in focus, ILO has taken initiative to promote ILS in Bangladesh. In this connection, two separate three-day training courses have been organized in Dhaka in April 2017.
The first one was held from 21 to 23 April and was attended by 30 lawyers practicing employment and labour issues in labour courts in Dhaka and in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. ILO organized this in collaboration with the Labour Court Lawyers’ Society/Labour Court Bar Association, Dhaka.
The second course was participated by 30 judges and judicial officers including three judges from labour courts. It was organized in collaboration with the Judicial Administration Training Institute (JATI).
The courses have been highly acclaimed and been marked with presence of key policy makers from the judiciary and labour administration. In the inaugural ceremony for judges’ course held on 25 April, Mr. Anisul Huq, MP, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs was present as the Chief Guest while Mr. Md. Mujibul Haque, MP, State Minister for Labour and Employment was the Special Guest. It was also addressed among others by H. E. Ms. Sidsel Bleken, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh; Mr. Abu Saleh Sk. Md. Zahirul Haque, Secretary, Law and Justice Division, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; Mr. Srinivas B Reddy, Country Director, ILO; and Mr. Justice Khondker Musa Khaled, Director General, JATI. In the closing ceremony, Mr. Md. Mujibul Haque, MP, State Minister for Employment and Labour was the Chief Guest. Mr. Abu Saleh Sk. Md. Zahirul Haque, Secretary, Law and Justice Division, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; Mr. Gagan Rajbhandari, Deputy Director, ILO; and Mr. Justice Khondker Musa Khaled, Director General, JATI also addressed.
The closing session for lawyers’ course held on 23 April was addressed by Justice Abdul Hye, Chairman, Labour Appellate Tribunal as the Chief Guest and H. E. Ms. Sidsel Bleken, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh was the Special Guest. Advocate Mahbubul Hoque, President of the Labour Court Bar Association chaired the session.
The training courses have been designed and implemented by the International Training Centre (ITC) of ILO. ITC is based in Turin, Italy.
The trainers included Dr. Robyn Ann Layton, a former judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia and also a former Member and Chairperson of ILO’s Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), Ms. Ramapriya Gopalakrishnan, a former Legal Officer of ILO and currently an Advocate in the Madras High Court, India, and Ms. Maura Miraglio from the ITC.
These activities have been developed and implemented with support from the Fundamental Rights and Labour Relations (FRLR) Project of ILO which was funded by Norway, and Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations (SDIR) Project jointly funded by Sweden and Denmark.
Uttam Kumar Das is a Graduate from the University of Minnesota Law School, USA and an Advocate (Attorney) in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Currently, he is serving as a Programme Officer for Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations (SDIR) Project of ILO in Bangladesh. However, opinion expressed is author’s own.
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