|Govt toughens labour law|
|Monday, 31 March 2008|
The interim cabinet Sunday approved Bangladesh Labour (amendment) Ordinance 2008 with provisions for allowing only one trade union organisation to continue activities at Chittagong and Mongla ports each.
Full Story The earlier law had allowed more than one organisation for both ports. A regular meeting of the cabinet chaired by chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed in his office approved the new ordinance by amending Bangladesh Labour Act, the CA's press secretary Syed Fahim Munaim told reporters.
According to the 2008 labour ordinance, although a trade union can conduct activities, no office of any organisation can be set up within 200 metres of the ports. The ordinance has a provision for three months' jail term and a fine of Tk 25,000 for violations of the labour law.
The earlier law had a provision for three months' jail term and a fine of Tk 10,000. From now, 50 percent of the money deposited with the port's welfare fund will have to be deposited with the labour welfare fund. When the ordinance comes into effect the Dock Workers Management Board in both the ports would cease to exist. The port authorities will arrange absorption of the board's workers, officials and employees.
ID CARDS Also, the council of advisers Sunday approved the National Identity Registration Authority Ordinance that clearly spells out strict punishment to offenders. Munaim said: "The ID cards issued by the Election Commission will be considered national ID cards. The registration authority will work under the home ministry."
"If any person is found having more than one identity card, carrying a fake identity card and provides wrong information while taking the card, these acts will be considered punishable offences," he said. Referring to other provisions in the ordinance, Munaim also said: "Changing information in the ID card for an ulterior motive and making a fake identity card are also punishable offences."
"The law provides for a minimum of three months and a maximum of seven years in prison for such crimes. The CrPC will be followed in trial of the cases," he said. A national information database and registration authority will be established under the ordinance, Munaim told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
The main functions of the registration authority will include setting up a national information database centre and maintenance, receiving and issuing cards, coordinating the registration of birth and death of citizens under the local government department. Work on preparing one crore national identity cards has already been completed across the country. The head office of the authority will be located in Dhaka.
The authority can set up its branches in any division, district or upazila if necessary. The number of members will be no more than four, each with the status of a joint secretary.
The chairman to be appointed from among the members will enjoy the status of an additional secretary. The authority will have funds that might be formed by either with government donations, loans or money received from other sources. The authority will submit an annual report to the government prior to the end of the year.
The authority can prepare rules and regulations in consultation with the government, but they must be published as a gazette.
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