The Communications Collective of South Asia, with support from the Youth Media Collective of MONLAR, is releasing the first edition of La Via Campesina’s South Asian Dispatches. These consist of a series of interviews with leaders from various peasant organizations in South Asia, and through them, we bring you the latest updates about the different peasant struggles in the region.
Episode 1 focuses on the ongoing farmworkers’ strike in Bangladesh, organized by the Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation since July 21, 2023.
The struggle led by farmworkers for improved wages and working conditions has compelled the government to establish a committee to study the matter and provide recommendations.
Listen to Golam Sorowar, the General Secretary of BAFLF, as he provides further insight into the struggle.
Postscript (Update received on 21 September 2023) :
PARTIAL VICTORY FOR WORKERS!
On September 19th, the Ministry of Agriculture issued three official directives in response to the demands put forth by BAFLF. One of these directives instructed the BADC authority to convert the status of precarious workers employed at BADC Farms to permanent positions, which was the top priority for BAFLF. Currently, the majority of workers at the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and in other state-owned agricultural institutions and farms are engaged as precarious workers. BADC plays a critical role in supplying high-quality seeds to farmers, a task that necessitates a permanent and trained workforce. However, presently, all workers at BADC are engaged on a daily basis.
Up until the year 2001, all BADC workers held permanent positions. In 2001, the BADC authorities compelled all 1604 permanent workers to opt for voluntary retirement, resulting in the abolition of all permanent positions. At present, all BADC workers are employed on a daily basis. BAFLF has been advocating for the permanent employment of agricultural workers in state-owned farms, including BADC. The government’s decision to grant permanent status to BADC workers marks a significant achievement in BAFLF’s long-standing struggle. It’s worth noting that negotiations are ongoing concerning wage increases, piece rates, and other related issues.