Bangladesh: union mobilizes to defend workers at public agency supplying seed to farmers
The IUF-affiliated Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) and the National Women Farmers & Workers Association (NWFA) held a joint rally on October 25 in Dhaka, forming a human chain around the National Press Club to highlight the deteriorating situation of workers at the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) and the progressive weakening of public research and seed provision to farmers. The BADC’s role in providing seed to farmers has been shrinking under joint pressure from multinational and local companies promoting branded and patented seed varieties and loan conditions imposed by the World Bank and IMF.
BAFLF General Secretary Abdul Mazid stressed the vital importance of the BADC in supplying quality seeds, which required a permanent, qualified workforce. Yet the BADC, a public body, has slashed jobs and casualized employment. For two months, has illegally failed to pay a wage increase for workers on BADC farms negotiated by the union. The union is demanding that the BADC fulfil its public mandate by resisting growing corporate incursion into agriculture through the seed market, immediately pay the negotiated wage increase, restore employment to an appropriate level and regularize employment.