Industrial police may trigger unrest: labour unions

Bangladeshi police doing what they do best

Bangladesh’s key labour leaders have asked the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to drop its plan to create an industrial police force saying it could be used to suppress workers’ democratic rights.
They expressed the fears that the industrial police force would be used, especially to suppress the rights of the apparel industry workers.
They also felt that it would serve no good purpose as it could be used as a shield by the apparel factory owners.
State minister for home affairs Shamsul Hoque disclosed last week that the industrial police force would start functioning with 1,500 members, half its proposed strength, some time in the current month.
He also said that a police officer with the rank of Deputy Inspector General would be appointed director general of the proposed industrial security force, to be deployed in all the industrial zones in the country.
Labour leaders told newsmen in Dhaka yesterday that the proposed industrial police would increase, rather than cut down labour unrests in Bangladesh.
Garment Workers’ Trade Union Centre adviser Manzurul Ahsan Khan said that the labour unrest cannot be solved applying force.
Khan, also the president of Communist Party of Bangladesh said that the government should first create a separate police force to sensitise and control ‘Chhatra League’ as the ruling Awami League’s student organisation had gone out of control.
He said that the Awami League failed to control feuds within Chhatra League all across the country, troubling Bangladesh.
Roy Ramesh Chandra, the general secretary of Jatiya Sramik League, the labour front of ruling Awami League, said the creation of an industrial police would in no way help control labour unrests facing in the industry.
He said that the government should first establish the apparel workers right to trade union.
Nazrul Islkam Khan, the president of Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal, the labour front of the main opposition party BNP, said the government took the plan to create industrial police with the ill motive of suppressing the workers’ democratic right to trade union.
It is important for the government to ensure the workers’ trade union rights in the apparel industry, he said.
Textile Garments Workers Federation president Abul Hossain said that the government’s plan to create an industrial police force would be counterproductive.
He said that the new police force would aggravate the relations between the workers and the factory owners.
He said the new force would hamper industrial relations and make them bitter.
He also said that the new force would create a negative image of the government t aboard.
The general secretary of Bangladesh Textile Garments Workers Federation Bazlur Rashid Firoj described it as unnecessary to create anew police force, because the regular police force was good enough to control labour unrests.
Possible use of the industrial police to protect the interest of the factory owners could turn it into a tool for suppressing the workers.
Musherfa Mishu, the president of Garments Sramik Oikya Forum expressed the fear that the creation of the industrial police would further delay the establishment of the right to trade unionism, particularly in the apparel industry.
She called for reversing the decision to create industrial police and immediately allowing the workers’ right to trade union in the apparel industry.

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