The Bangladesh embassy in Iraq seems helpless in aiding the 27 Bangladeshi workers suffering in a labor accommodation facility for the last five months for being without job.
Early in this year, they came to Iraq in search of jobs by the supervision of a construction company. M Kodia Co General Trading invited them working in Iraq, at monthly salary of $350, but its project was still to begin. This left the migrants without salaries and adequate food.
In this context, the migrants’ relatives held a human chain in front of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) in the capital on July 22, demanding jobs for the workers or their repatriation and compensation. An official from the Bangladesh embassy in Iraq visited the workers on August 3, and promised help, but no progress was made.
Being frustrated and exhausted the migrants are now seeking escape from Iraq and the migrants’ relatives again formed a human chain in front of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment recently.
A resident of Ghatail in Tangail, Lebu Mondol, father of migrant worker Faruk Hossain, now in Najaf, 160 kilometres south of Baghdad, said he spent Tk 3.7 lakh to send Faruk to Iraq. Col Ziadur Rahman, first secretary (labor) of the Bangladesh embassy in Iraq, told The Daily Star by phone that the workers had food and electricity problems beforehand but they were given adequate food after the August 3 visit, a claim refuted by Shaon Ali, a worker in Najaf.
Ziadur remarked that he summoned the employer a few days back to meet him and to talk on this issue. However, the employer did not come. The agencies that sent the workers to Iraq include Morning Sun Enterprise, Meghna Trade International, East Bengal Overseas and Idea International Ltd.
Talking to the BBC Bangla yesterday, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said that the recruiting agency will be identified soon and will be prosecuted with compensations to the workers. He also added, “If necessary the victims would be given compensations from the deposit money of the agencies at the BMET.”