Bangladesh: BWI and ADB inspect energy projects to ensure labour rights

Last February, BWI and its affiliate in Bangladesh, the BSBWWF conducted joint inspections with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) covering four (4) sites in the country’s Rupsha 800-Megawatt Combined Cycle Power Plant Project and Dhaka and Western Zone Transmission Grid Expansion Project. BSBWWF General Secretary Shahidul Alam, who was part of the team, said that the initiative was the first in BWI’s newly institutionalised collaboration with the ADB. “This positively demonstrates to other international financial institutions how meaningful engagements with local and global trade unions should be pursued,” he said.


Aside from Alam, the group is comprised of BWI Global Coordinator for Construction Linnea Wikström, BWI South Asia Projects Director Rajeev Sharma, and ADB’s safeguard team. The joint site visits probed: 1) gaps in occupational health and safety (OHS) implementation, 2) the lack of welfare facilities for subcontracted workers, and 3) the use of extensive overtime. The team’s findings were all recorded in the bank’s mission report, with concrete issues highlighted and corrective measures suggested. These will be at the core of a follow-up activity that will be conducted by the ADB’s safeguard team and BWI’s affiliates on the ground.


The members of the joint visits, as well as representatives from BWI’s other Bangladeshi affiliates BBWWF and PBSKL, relevant ministries, and major clients and contractors involved in ADB projects in Bangladesh, were also invited to an interactive workshop on improving labour conditions. They all participated in an open discussion on how to further ensure workers’ welfare, and safe and healthy worksites.