Webinar: Responding to the COVID19 crisis – how can we as employers and brands support vulnerable migrant workers?

Migrant workers are all-too-often vulnerable to exploitation and more likely to end up in precarious situations.  As the world confronts COVID-19 and governments impose restrictions to stop its spread, migrant workers’ vulnerabilities are further exacerbated. In times such as these where the world is trying to contain the virus, migrant workers are struggling to access healthcare and secure their livelihoods while also fearing deportation, family separation, or detention. Due to government lockdowns and economic activities coming into a standstill, migrant workers are at higher risk of losing their jobs. With their already precarious conditions, most of them are not covered by national labour laws and protections or aware of their rights and support systems. For example, RMG factories in India and Bangladesh are undergoing massive cuts and lay-offs due to drops in global demand and brands canceling orders. Many workers have also reported not getting paid by their employers and, thus, not being able to send remittances to families or to afford basic needs for survival.  

Now more than ever, all actors must cooperate to contain COVID-19 and minimize the social, health and economic impact on vulnerable groups. Brands and employers’ responsibilities have increased considering the situation. Based on the current scenario IOM has developed guidelines for the businesses to support them to respond to the impact of COVID-19 in their supply chains.  

The objective of this webinar is to better understand how human rights can be protected in supply chains during this pandemic. 
Target Audience: Businesses, Factory Owners, Brands, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders.
Duration: The webinar will be for 90 mins with panel discussion to understand the overall ground scenario. The last 30 mins will be kept for Q&A from participants.

For registration, please contact Sajjad Ahmed (Mr), IOM National Programme Officer at [email protected] or Md Mamunur Rashid (Mr), IOM Project Assistant at [email protected]

Mr Basirul Nabi Khan

Relations and Public Affairs Manager | H&M

Basirun Nabi Khan joined H&M in 2003 in the Code of Conduct Department in Bangladesh Production Office. Have worked in different roles between 2003 to 2011 driving the CSR agenda in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Between 2011 to 2016 Basir worked based in Cambodia Production Office and for last three years he was Office Manager for Cambodia and Vietnam Offices. Basir is currently handling external stakeholder engagement and media related issues. 

Ms Heather Canon

Vice President, Capacity Building | ELEVATE

Heather leads ELEVATE’s Capacity Building team from the company’s Hong Kong headquarters. In this role, Heather directs four business lines: Worker Engagement, Factory Services, eLearning and MCSR (Program Support) services. Earlier, Heather co-founded and led the social enterprise that developed the award-winning Laborlink mobile platform. In 2017, ELEVATE acquired Laborlink and integrated this technology with assessments in a scalable and cost-effective way. She brings together industry experience with Columbia Sportswear Company, Fair Trade USA, and field experience working with small-scale farmers in West Africa.

Ms Lara White

Senior Specialist for Labour Mobility and Human Development, Regional Office for Asia Pacific | IOM

Lara White is the Senior Specialist for Labour Mobility and Human Development of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), responsible for Asia and the Pacific. Lara serves as the organization’s primary regional liaison with the private sector and other governmental, intergovernmental or civil society stakeholders on the protection of migrant workers’ rights throughout the labour migration process, including the promotion of ethical labour recruitment. In this capacity, she is one of the principle architects of the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a voluntary multi-stakeholder assurance scheme for international labour recruiters. She also leads IOM’s task tam responding to socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in the region. Before joining IOM, Lara worked for the Government of Canada and the US Government, bringing with her extensive experience in policy development and implementation of labour market programs such as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Canada’s Employment Insurance scheme.

Mr Mohammad A. Momen

BGMEA and Managing Director | Fashion Knit Garments Ltd.

Professor Momen has 39 years of experience in trade and involved with the business of Pride Group since beginning of the Group in 1980s. With excellent academic background track record, professor Momen is well known among business community, financial sector and academicians as successful teacher cum industrialist. Professor Momen is looking after the production and marketing aspects of different products of Pride Group. He is also a Director of BGMEA and he is a Professor of Finance in the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) at the University of Dhaka. Professor Mohammad Abdul Momen holds a master’s in finance and MBA from USA.

Mr Mohammed Zahidullah

Chief Sustainability Officer | DBL Group

Through a wide range of programs aimed at the improvement of the lives of workers and the local communities and reducing the impact on the environment; Zahid regularly works with a broad range of stakeholders, including UN agencies. Sustainability programs at DBL are aligned with SDGs. Zahid has 23 years of experience in the apparel, textiles, sporting goods, ceramic tableware and electronics industries. He conducts all his work with the belief that “Reward of doing good, is nothing but good”.

Ms Nazma Akter

Founder and Executive Director | Awaj Foundation

Nazma Akter is the founder and Executive Director of Awaj Foundation. She has been fighting to improve workers’ rights, especially women workers, in the garment sector in Bangladesh for over 32 years. Nazma is also the President of Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, one of the largest union federations in Bangladesh, and co-chair of Asia Pacific Women’s Committee of IndustriALL Global Union. She was awarded the Ashoka Fellow in 2019.

Ms Pravina Gurung

Head of the Migration and Development Division | IOM

Ms. Pravina GURUNG is heading the Migration and Development Unit. In her position she is responsible in overseeing and ensuring effective management and implementation of the different projects/ components under M&D in Bangladesh which includes reintegration, remittance management & financial literacy, skill development, debt mediation, ethical recruitment, and CREST. She comes with fifteen years of professional experience including Nepal. 

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