Youth leadership workshop boosts young workers’ trade union engagement in Bangladesh

Feb 2024
United Nations
Youth, Bangladesh, New Social Contract

A one-day youth leadership national workshop aimed at enhancing the engagement of youth in trade unions across Bangladesh was successfully held on 9 February 2024 in Dhaka.

Hosted by the ITUC-Bangladesh Council in collaboration with ITUC-Asia Pacific, the workshop was attended by 28 participants from six different federations: Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC), Bangladesh Jatyatabadi Sramik Dal (BJSD), Bangladesh Labour Federation (BLF), Bangladesh Mukto Sramik Federation (BMSF), Bangladesh Sanjukta Sramik Federation (BSSF) and Jatio Sramik League (JSL). Leaders of these federations underscored the importance of youth leadership in trade unions.

Discussions revolved around the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for sustainable engagement of youth in the trade union movement. Key points highlighted the need for more resources that could lead to actions that are aimed at increasing the awareness, and empowerment of the youth.

Dr. S M Fahimuddin Pasha, ITUC-Asia Pacific’s Director for Worker's Rights, emphasised the role of the youth in contributing to the global economy and outlined the importance of youth leadership in implementing the ILO Roadmap for Bangladesh, which prioritises four areas: i) labour law reforms, ii) trade union registration, iii) labour inspection and enforcement and iv) addressing acts of anti-union discrimination/unfair labour practices and violence against workers.

Attendees actively participated in group work, formulating a National Action Plan aligned with the workers’ key demands for a new social contract, namely, jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality, and inclusion.

The workshop concluded with closing remarks focusing on the imperative of youth empowerment in trade unions to foster a more inclusive and equitable labour market. Empowering youth in trade unions is vital for ensuring a brighter future for all workers in Bangladesh.

Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary, ITUC-Asia Pacific stated:

"Empowering young workers is crucial in shaping a just and sustainable future for all. In countries like Bangladesh, recognising the roles and potential contributions of the young workers and developing policies geared towards enhancing youth empowerment are key in accelerating the graduation from being a least developed country. This must be done alongside full protection of their rights."

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