Promoting decent work and acceptable working conditions in the tannery sector in Bangladesh

Overview

Leather is one of the 15 identified sectors for generating national income, accounting for more than 3 percent of the country’s exports after the readymade garment sector which is in the second position in terms of foreign earnings. In 2017, following the High Court order, the tanneries were relocated to Hemayetpur, Savar. However, tannery workers are facing many problems like job insecurity, clash with employers, poor OSH conditions & practices, health problems due to indecent working environment, fear of chemical reactions, accident etc.

BLF has implemented this project since September 2018 to July 2023, supported by The Asia Foundation (TAF). This project followed TAF’s approach to promoting decent work and acceptable working conditions in the tannery sector in Bangladesh. This project focused on bringing together tannery workers, owners, CSOs, community leaders, government, and other stakeholders in an inclusive, productive way. The fundamental aspect of TAF’s strategic approach is to establish a mutual understanding among tannery workers and their employers. Moreover, the GoB of the value of improving OSH and addressing other Labour issues to increase productivity, ensure the sustainability of the industry as a whole. This project intervenes 48 tanneries out of 137.

Objectives

  • Increase knowledge, awareness and advocacy skills among workers and tannery supervisors on OSH and labour rights under Bangladeshi law.
  • Increase worker engagement to promote inclusive dialogue and reform.

Workplace condition

Tannery Industries workers are still facing insufficient OSH facilities. It causes detrimental effects on the workers’ health and the surrounding environment as well.

Labour Rights

The workers face many difficulties due to lack of regulations, absent of appointment letters, medical facilities, recreational activities etc.

Project Design

To improve the ability of the Tannery Workers Union and expand TWU's membership and deepen the engagement of existing members

BLF’s Achievements

Bangladesh labour foundation has highly encouraged and compelled to follow the regulation among tannery industries.

Components: Health & safety and Decent work, Capacity Development, Gender-based Violence and Social Dialogue

Key Stakeholders: Tannery workers, TWU, Related NGOs & CSOs, BTA & BFLLFEA, Union Parishad & Upazila Parishad, MoLE & MoI, DoL & DIFE, BSCIC, Upazila Administration (Office of the Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Upazila Social Services office,Upazila Women Affairs Office).

Beneficiaries: Directly 2000 and indirectly 1580 individuals were benefitted from there. This project took 14 capacity building initiative where 384 male and 109 female were engaged. Moreover, this project conducted 743 awareness rising session with 3395 participants (84.74% male & 15.26 female).

Key Outcomes: Out of 48 factories, 47 factories provided PPE, 15 factories started maintaining accident register, 39 Factories ensured dustbin facilities, 4 Factories tested their Water quality, 2 Factories installed complaint box, 9 Factories formed the Safety Committee, 11 Factories Provided Separate toilets for male and female, 43 Factories Installed Fire Safety Equipment, 20 Factory owners installed Water filters, 22 Factories Provided first aid boxes and medicines, 15 factories provided ID Card to their employee.

Projects list