Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – A telephone help line for workers to make and resolve grievances relating to workplace safety or workers’ rights has been launched in Bangladesh.
The government launched the help line as a pilot project on Sunday for six months in Ashulia, and if it is successful, such help lines will be set up across the country.
The Help Line – 0800 44 55 000 – will be run by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) and has been established with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Royal Norwegian Government.
Calls received by the Help Line will be logged and forwarded to either DIFE, the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department or the Directorate of Labour to deal with. The caller will then be contacted with a response.
A trained supervisor and four other agents will be available to receive calls and provide services through the helpline.
The helpline will remain open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm throughout the year.
“This is to take effective steps to address the workers’ concerns about safety, security and rights,” said Labour and Employment Minister Mujibul Haque at the launching ceremony at his office in the capital Dhaka.
He hoped it would be helpful for the workers regarding the prevailing problems in the country’s largest industrial sector. “It (the project) can also reduce the worker-owner dispute to zero level and help increase productivity in the factories.”
“Over the last two years, unprecedented efforts have been made to enhance workplace safety and improve workers’ rights in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh,” ILO Country Director Srinivas B Reddy.
“By providing workers with the chance to air grievances this Help Line gives a voice to the voiceless,” Reddy explained. “It will also play an important role in facilitating better workplace relations by helping address grievances that may otherwise escalate into mass protests or court cases.”
The workplace safety and workers rights at the country’s RMG industry emerged as a concern after the deadliest collapse of Rana Plaza building that killed over 1,135 workers and injured 2,500 people.    
Labour and Employment Secretary Mikail Shipar, DIFE Inspector General Syed Ahmed and Director of Labour SM Ashrafuzzaman were also present at the function.

BBN/SSR/AD-16Mar15-12:05 pm (BST)