President returns labour amendment bill for reconsideration

He asks parliament to reconsider a provision which increases the fine for illegal strikes enforced by workers, while keeping the penalty unchanged for employers

Published : 5 Dec 2023, 11:43 AM
Updated : 5 Dec 2023, 11:43 AM

President Md Shahabuddin has withheld assent to a bill amending the labour law and sent it back to parliament for reconsideration due to concerns over a new provision.

The Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill 2023 was passed by the legislature on Nov 2 last year. The bill was subsequently sent for the president's approval on Nov 8 but was returned on Nov 20 for further scrutiny.

"The 11th parliament is currently not in session so the bill will remain in limbo. It will have to be reintroduced when the new parliament convenes," Nazmul Haque, joint secretary of the Parliament Secretariat's law wing, said on Tuesday.

The bill was initially tabled in parliament on Oct 29 last year, introducing amendments to several provisions of the Labour Act.

Later, the bill was sent to a parliamentary committee to present a report to the parliament with only three days time. After vetting, the bill was passed by parliament on Nov 2.

However, the president did not assent to the bill at the time due to concerns over one of the new provisions in the bill.

The provision that was flagged for reconsideration concerns the penalty for illegal strikes or lockouts, set out in section 294 of the main statute. The amendment raises the fine for workers enforcing an illegal strike to Tk 20,000 from Tk 5,000. However, the penalty for employers remains unchanged.