Two years after Nepal’s powerful earthquake, slow pace of reconstruction offers an opportunity for the nation to change its economic model, which leans heavily on remittances from Nepali migrant workers. It is a “unique moment” to create jobs that protect workers’ rights, pay fair wages and boost the economic status of its citizens, according to a new report by U.S.-based groups Solidarity Center and JustJobs Network.
According to AKM Nasim, senior legal counselor, Solidarity Center, cases under The Fatal Accidents Act of 1855 take a long time to be resolved, and the court fee is unaffordable for a Bangladeshi laborer. “In fact, a case was filed demanding compensation by the wife of a road accident victim named Mozammel Hossain under this Act and it took 20 years to get the final verdict,” he said.
A new briefing from the Solidarity Center detailed the intimidation, arrests and firing that followed the garment worker walk-out in December. The Solidarity Center warned that the “broad crackdown on garment workers, union leaders and worker rights activists in Bangladesh marks a troubling escalation of workers to silence garment workers.”
As the FIFA corruption scandal widens and pressure builds to move the World Cup from countries tainted by the investigation, a deeper human tragedy may be unfolding: The economically fragile situation of migrant workers who build infrastructure for global sporting events will only worsen if they lose their jobs abroad and have no employment to return to at home, writes the Solidarity Center’s Sonia Mistry.
“In June 2014 the U.S. government took the rare step of suspending African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade benefits for Swaziland, citing the Swazi government’s systematic violations of fundamental worker rights, including refusal to legally recognize TUCOSWA,” reported the Solidarity Center.