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‘Ensure labour rights for persons with disabilities at workplace’

Rights activists today urged policymakers to protect labour and trade union rights of the persons with disabilities as reports of discrimination going rampant at their workplaces due to negative approach from employers and lack of awareness among co-workers.

They said policies consistent to equal opportunities and treatment for all workers and employees should be adopted at workplaces so that persons with disabilities (PWD) could feel encouraged and contribute meaningfully to organizations from a favorable work environment.

The statements were made before the audience of a discussion held in the city's Paltan area. The Disabled Child Foundation (DCF) and Disability Rights Fund (DRF) organized the function in order to highlight the plights of the PWDs in their workplaces, said a press release.

DCF Executive Director Nasrin Jahan said PWDs could significantly contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) provided they were given equal remuneration and treatment at workplaces. She said the empathy from colleagues and employers were also crucial to keep PWDs morale strong and increase their productivity.

Senior Researcher Rejaul Karim said the PWDs should be given opportunity to involve in trade unions and actively participate in negotiations with the management. Once they are brought in the mainstream, he said, discrimination against PDWDs would certainly come down.

According to a recent report of the World Bank, Bangladesh loses 1.2 billion US dollar per year due to the exclusion of PWDs from mainstream economic activities. The authentic number of PWDs in Bangladesh has yet to be ascertained, but conservative results from a just concluded survey estimates the PWDs number would be around 1.7 million, said Sohel Rana, a DCF representative.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)