Returnee workers demand compensation, arrears

The returnee Bangladeshi workers from restive Libya on Wednesday demanded that the government negotiated compensation from Libyan government and arrears from their employers.

The ill-fated workers said most of them spent over Tk 2 lakh that they arranged by borrowing or selling land and that they could not recover the sum in a year or two.

Many are still indebted, they said expressing uncertainty what is in store for them.

“I sold my land and borrowed money to go to Libya for a better future. I now only see darkness in the coming days,” Abu Zahid Khan, one of the returnees, said as he failed to hold tears at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club (JPC).

Several hundred returnee migrants formed a human chain in front of the JPC under the banner of ?Libya Probashi Kallyan Samitee? (welfare association of the migrants in Libya).

They are only a small portion of around 32,000 who fled the trouble-torn Libya. Several hundreds returned home while several thousands are under process of repatriation from the borders of Tunisia and Egypt, and Greece and Turkey amid clashes that started mid-February.

Deepak Mallick of Munshiganj told The Daily Star he spent Tk 2 lakh to work at a South Korean company, Won Construction, in Libya in 2008 at a monthly salary of Tk 8,000.

With salary increase a year before, he started saving good amounts and had planned to return home by the end of March.

“Except for arrears of two months, I had 2,000 Libyan Dinar (1 Dinar=Tk 56) with me. But the Libyans looted all of it while looting our possessions and driving us out of the camps,” Deepak said.

Apart from salary of two months, they also did not get one year’s bonus, he said.

Another worker, Mominur Rahman, said around 2,000 foreign workers including nearly 500 Bangladeshis came under attack and looting on January 13 at a labour camp in Derna of Benghazi, stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi group.

They were shifted to other camps, which again came under attack forcing them to move to the Egyptian border of Solum late February and subsequently to return home, he said.

Rahman demanded that the government takes initiatives to ensure jobs on priority basis for those returning from Libya and give interest-free loans so they could start business.

Otherwise, the affected returnee migrants will face a serious crisis in their economic and social life, he noted.

daily star

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