Bangladesh fixes 14 as the minimum age for employment, thus implementing its commitment to eradicate all forms of child labour by 2025 and seeking existing GSP facility in the European Union.
Officials concerned say the country is also scheduled to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 138 on Minimum Age on March 21.
State minister for labour Begum Monnujan Sufian is included in the entourage.
“Bangladesh has fixed 14 as minimum age for admission to employment,” reads a progress report on the National Action Plan (NAP) on the Labour Sector of Bangladesh (2021-2026).
The government prepared the report as a high-powered EU delegation visited Bangladesh from March 14-17 to monitor the human and labour rights situation here under its EBA (Everything but Arms) facility.
During the ninth session of the EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission in October 2019, the government agreed to develop a NAP on the country’s labour sector.
The final action plan was developed in consultation with the EU and was submitted to it on 01 July 2021.
The NAP is a commitment of Bangladesh to uphold labour rights and workplace safety in the country.
The time-bound NAP contains specific actions on legal and administrative reforms as well as enforcement of laws, capacity building and promotional activities.
Local rights groups and the ILO have long pressed Bangladesh to ratify the minimum-age convention.
The EU also tagged the issue in its nine-point suggestion to sustain GSP benefit there, people involved in the process said.
The EU also put the matter of child labour eradication in its recommendations, according to them.
It is important to fix the minimum age for employment to address child labour, a ministry official says.
The government is committed to eradicating all forms of child labour by 2025, he adds.
The fixation of the minimum employment age is part of the regulatory and policy framework for the elimination of child labour.
On February 28, the Cabinet approved the ratification proposal, the official says, adding that the ratification letter is being prepared for the ILO.
Sammilita Garment Sramik Federation president Nazma Akter welcomes this government initiative.
“The government should not only ratify the convention but also implement all required laws to ensure basic rights of children,” she told the FE on Thursday.
Ms Nazma, however, says they do not want to see any child in any hazardous job anymore.
Echoing her, another labour leader Babul Akhter says there are many children still in many risky jobs, including subcontracting factories.
The endorsement of the convention will ensure the basic lawful rights of children, he expects.