Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have lauded Bangladesh’s determination to meet International Labor Organization (ILO) standards. At a view-exchange meeting with Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the European Union Mahbub Hassan Saleh, MEPs on the European Parliament’s trade committee were impressed by both the country’s progress to date and its openness about the challenges that lie ahead, according to Brussels-based news website EU Reporter.
Bangladesh ratified the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) convention on labor standards in full in March, establishing a 14-year-old minimum working age. Bangladesh has put in place an ambitious National Action Plan based on a road map agreed upon with the European Union. The European Commission announced that progress is being made against child labor, with the number of labor inspectors set to more than double by the end of next year, from 300 to 1,500. Child labor has been made illegal in more places, and it is expected to be outlawed entirely by 2025. Next year, an initiative to end hazardous child labor should be completed. The definition of hazardous labor has been expanded, and it is expected that the effort will save 100,000 children from working in hazardous conditions.
Local action supplemented national government initiatives such as the establishment of a helpline and new labor courts. Bangladesh and the EU have had a 49-year relationship, and the Ambassador told MEPs that the country has “maximized the use of trade rights and development support.” The committee hopes to visit Bangladesh in July so that MEPs can see for themselves how much the country has benefited from its partnership with the EU.