Special initiative required for workers in the fishing community
Presiding over the virtual meeting, the executive director of the Manusher Jonno Foundation, Shaheen Anam, said fishermen work in difficult and dangerous places, but are paid a pittance. If one of them is lost or dies while fishing on the high seas, his family receives no compensation. Women must then take responsibility for the family. And the women and children who work in this sector are in an even worse situation.
The moderator of the meeting was Prothom Alo Associate Editor Firoz Choudhury. The opening presentation was made by Abdul Quayum, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Prothom Alo.
The secretary for social protection of the National Federation of Workers of Pathargatha de Barguna, Zakir Hossain, regrets that workers in this sector live in the seas in inhumane conditions. They work 18-20 hours straight and still can’t sleep. There is a lack of potable water and they go long periods without swimming. They don’t have a fixed salary. Trawler owners do not comply with 13 of the license clauses and therefore workers have no security. Each fishing family is to receive 40 kg of rice when the fishing ban is in effect, but it is not delivered to them on time.
The opening speech on the state of the work of the fishing community was presented by the senior officer of BILS (planning and monitoring), Rezwanul Huq. He said 80 percent of workers participating in the search believe there is a shortage of life-saving equipment on the ships. There is a lack of modern and efficient technology to inform them of cyclones. A third of the workers felt that they had to take out loans from the trawler owners for survival reasons and then had to pay them back through labor. They want to end this. Along with union complications, workers have to work without a written agreement and it is therefore difficult to obtain compensation or enjoy other rights.