We thank Saudi leadership and look forward to similar win-win solution to other issues
What a high level intervention and persuasion at the head of government level can deliver is amply proven by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s taking up the issue of our workers’ employment and wellbeing with the Saudi leadership during her Umra visit to the fraternal kingdom. By virtue of a series of regulations adopted by the Saudi Council of Ministers, 20 lakh Bangladeshi employees in that country are being enabled to change their jobs thereby acquiring mobility, flexibility and security of employment across a broad spectrum of Saudi economy.
In a robustly solution-oriented approach, the Saudi government taking stock of the problems Bangladeshi wage earners faced while working in Saudi Arabia has tried to resolve the issues and, in fact, found ways to mitigate them. As a result, we now see unlocking of possibilities that remained inexplicably on hold thus far, even though these should have been their natural entitlements, if past governments had negotiated successfully with their Saudi counterpart.
The credit thus goes to the present government to have reached a tangible understanding with the Saudi government for relaxation of employment conditions for Bangladeshi workers. Credit is also due to Saudi leadership for resolving this issue, which will greatly benefit our workers. Now our workers would not be subject to inflexible job contracts which induced different kinds of abuse and exploitation. Because work permits were seldom renewed, Bangladeshi workers would stray into fugitive status by doing jobs ‘illegally’. Such lacunae have been plugged now and Bangladeshi wage earners’ would hopefully stand on more certain ground while working in Saudi Arabia.
We would like to regard the new development as the precursor of a whole series of steps that the Saudi and Bangladeshi governments would take to seal all routes of exploitation that Bangladeshi workers have hitherto fallen prey to considering the importance of what is basically a two-way street to development.
This is likely to have positive repercussions on the future ties between the oil rich Gulf peninsula and Bangladesh by way of enduring developmental relationship between the two countries. We have the satisfaction of having contributed to Saudi economy and development by the skill of our workers and the sweat of their brow. Likewise, we acknowledge the Saudi contribution as the largest traditional source of remittances to Bangladesh economy. Let there be no looking back from here.
Source: Editorial, The Daily Star, 25 April 2009