The Certificates awarding ceremony of the first batch of the Academy of Work (AoW), a residential and academic programme of trade unionists, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, was held on October 28, 2017 in the capital. The AoW is a joint collaboration of Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES), a non-profit German foundation funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) which endeavors to uphold the causes of working people and trade unions of Bangladesh. In an attempt to create an all-inclusive, constructive representation of workers’ interests, a more effective social dialogue and a discussion about responsibilities along the global supply chain, the AoW concluded with this event after three months of residential training sessions.
The first cohort of AoW consisted of sixteen mid-level, active trade unionists from industries such as the ready made garments, construction, transport, as well as government service sectors like postal services and telecommunications.
The event was attended by former labour and employment Secretary Mr. Mikail Shipar as the chief guest, who handed over certificates to the successful fellows. The programme was also attended by Dr. Wajedul Islam Khan, Joint-coordinator of Sramik Karmochari Oikya Parishad (SKOP) and Mr. Amirul Haque Amin, former Chairman of IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) and Mr. Mesbahuddin Ahmed, member of Advisory Council of BILS.
Mr. Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmmed, Executive Director of BILS was present at the event as a moderator while Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director of BIGD, BRAC University and Ms. Franziska Korn, Resident Representative of FES Bangladesh spoke on the occasion.
Dr. Rahman emphasized on upgrading the worker - employer - policymakers relationship and skills development of trade union leaders in the ceremony. Congratulating all 16 graduates for successfully completing the course he said ‘BIGD is proud to be a part of such an important and timely initiative’. He also emphasized that upgrading the worker-employer relationship will critically determine whether Bangladesh can continue to achieve the extraordinary success of the last few decades.
Through six thought provoking modules on subjects such as: (i) Labour policies, (ii) Globalization and trade, (iii) Supply chain and workers’ rights, (iv) Health and safety, (v) Project management and (vi) Leadership skills, this three-month training course not only intended to strengthen the capacity of the workers’ leaders but also to ensure that the outcome of the training benefits the workers and ultimately the nation.
Addressing in the event Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Research Fellow BIGD and one of the resource person of AoW said, the program will ultimately help almost 2 million workers who join Bangladesh’s labour force each year to be more aware of their rights, position in the global supply chain and roles and responsibilities of international brands. In this regard he emphasized the important role of the graduates of the 1st batch to disseminate their acquired knowledge among others.
Guest speakers from the field of academia, as well as from national and international organisations also attended and shared their valuable experiences and insights with the participants at the ceremony.
Next batch of this training is expected to commence from early 2018.