Do you think that the current legal mechanism of Bangladesh is adequate in order to protect labor rights-Explain & Illustrate?
Table of contain
- DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE AND EMPLOYER
- FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF LABOUR RELATIONS OF BANGLADESH
- OVERVIEW OF BANGLADESHI LABOUR
- CURRENT LEGAL MECHANISM OF BANGLADESH
- INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOUR IN BANGLADESH
The great philosopherof all time Aristotle has given the comment on the rule of law. The rule of law, also called supremacy of law, means that the law is above everyone and it applies to everyone.
‘’Labour law is the body of laws, organizational rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations’’ 1. As such, it mediates many aspects of the relationship between trade unions, employers and employees. In most countries however, no such distinction is made. However, there are two broad categories of labour law. First, collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Second, individual labour law concerns employees’ rights at work and through the contract for work
The Bangladesh Labour Code-2006 – act number 42 of 2006,basically emphasis the rights and obligations of the worker and the employer between one another are mediated through the contract of employment between the two. This has been the case since the collapse of feudalism and is the core reality of modern economic relations. Many terms and conditions of the contract are however implied by legislation or common law, in such a way as to restrict the freedom of people to agree to certain things to protect employees, and facilitate a fluid labour market.
1.Lawyers n Jurists Resource Directory – ‘’Labour law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations’’
2. DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE AND EMPLOYER ?
The concept of Employee is an individual (a natural person) acquires the capacity to have rights and duties as an employee in labour relations and the capacity to acquire these rights and takes on such duties by his own legal acts (acts – in law) on the day he reaches the age 15, unless this code provides for otherwise: however, an employer may not agree with an individual completes compulsory school attendance. An employee contributes labor and expertise to an endeavor. Employees perform the discrete activity of economic production. Of the three factors of production, employees usually provide the labor.
On the otherhand employer means a legal entity (a legal person) or an individual (a natural person) employing an individual in a labor relationship. An employer is a person or institution that hires employees or workers. There are federal rules which determine whether an employee can be classified as exempt or non-exempt from over time. Once an employee has been properly classified as exempt or not exempt, an Employer may offer hourly wages or a salary. It is important to note that “salary” does not always mean “exempt from overtime requirements.” A properly classified, as exempt, salaried employee is typically not paid more for more hours worked and employers may not deduct wages for items such as lack of work or because the employee worked less hours due to no fault of their own.
3. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF LABOUR RELATIONS OF BANGLADESH
- Labor relations under this Code may only be formed with the consent of an individual (anatural person) and his employer.
- The employer:
- May not transfer the risk from performance of dependent work to employees;
- Must ensure equal treatment for all employees and comply with the prohibition of discrimination in relation to employees as well as job seekers;
- Must comply with the principle of equal pay (wage, salary or other monetary benefits and benefits of monetary value) and, where appropriate, other remuneration for equal work and for work of the same value;
- Must provide to each employee the information concerning labour relations and ensure that such information is discussed (consulted) with the employee;
- Must acquaint employees with the relevant collective (bargaining) agreement and internal rules;
- May neither impose on an employee a monetary sanction for a breach of duty ensuing from his labour relationship nor require a monetary amount from his employee in connection therewith; however, this shall not apply to damage for which an employee is liable.
- May neither require from his employee, nor agree with him, the securement of a labour relationship obligation, with the exception of a non-competition clause and wage deductions from income (from the employee’s labour relationship).
4. OVERVIEW OF BANGLADESHI LABOUR
Bangladesh is classified as a least-developed country(LDC) and ranks 140th out of 177 in UNDP’s HumanDevelopment Report 2007/2008.An estimated 40%of the population lives below the poverty line and adult literacy, at 47,5%, is among the lowest in theworld. Almost 80 percent of Bangladesh’s populationlives in the rural areas 2. The rural economy constitutesa significant component of the national GDP, withagriculture (including crops, livestock, fisheries andforestry) accounting for 21 percent and the non-farmsector, which is also driven primarily by agriculture,for another 33 percent3 .The garment industry provides 76% of total exportsand employs 2,4 million workers,4out of a totalpopulation of 144 million.5Most factories are close to Dhaka. Many women comefrom rural areas, which is said to have a positiveimpact on women’s rights, and remittances are sent back to their home villages. The proportion of femaleworkers is 60-80% and RMG is the only formal sector where a significant proportion of women are working. Men are usually found in sweater and knitwear, and in cutting/dying jobs. It is reported that the ratio is changing slowly in favour of men because of the opening of many sweater factories. There is a high level of migration of workers between factories, and the average turnover is reported to be around 20%. This high turnover is due to a strong demand for skilled labour combined with insufficient wages. Exports increased by 16.59 % between 2005-06 and 2006-07. Ready Made Garment (RMG) exports are divided in: 49% to the European market, 33 % to the US market and the remaining 18% to other countries.6 Bangladesh products can enter the EU free of duty.
However, Bangladesh fails to utilize the total GSP credit due in part to non-availability of domestic raw materials. Indeed, raw material is not produced in Bangladesh, which consequently depends on China, Pakistan and India for its supplies. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) are currently working to get duty free access to US market. Safeguard restrictions on imports from China are due to expire on January 1, 2008 for the EU and January 1, 2009 for the US, meaning that Bangladesh will face increased competition. Many actors are of the opinion that diversifying the industry is necessary to guarantee a more sustainable development.
2. For Bangladesh UNDP country fact sheet:http://hdrstats.undp.org/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_BGD.html
3. World Bank data, http://go.worldbank.org/770VR4DIU0
4. Source: http://bgmea.com.bd
5. World Bank data 2006.
6. According to BGMEA figures for July 06-June 07. Source: BGMEA newsletter July 07 (www.bgmea.com.bd)
5. CURRENT LEGAL MECHANISM OF BANGLADESH
Bangladesh, with a population of 128.1 million people, has a large and cheap labour force of around 60 million, comprised of 40 million agricultural jobs (growing at one percent a year) and 20 million non-agricultural jobs (growing at six percent a year). Bangladesh offers a substantial work force skilled, unskilled, educated and otherwise. There is a good supply of relatively low cost labor in the country. Many of them have a working knowledge of English language and possess the basic skills required by industries. Of late, there is an increasing supply of professionals, technologists and other middle and low-level skilled workers. They receive technical training from universities, colleges, technical training centers, polytechnic institutions etc. The minimum age for workers in Bangladesh is 18 years in factories and establishments. Contracts are made in the form of a letter of offer. Workers may also be engaged on verbal agreements. In government organizations and in some private organizations as well, a probation period exists for skilled or semi-skilled workers varying between three month’s to one year and during this period either party may serve one month’s notice for termination from or giving up of the job. All employers are expected to comply with the government’s labor laws, which specify employment conditions, working hours, wage levels, leave policies, health and sanitary conditions, and compensation for injured workers. Freedom of association and the right to join unions is guaranteed in the Bangladesh Constitution. The right to form a union, subject to government approval, is also guaranteed.
To day at Bangladesh there are Rapid improvements in factory conditions many actors interviewed shared the impression that working conditions in all manufacturing factories had substantially improved over the last two years. Illustrations of such improvements included:
? Increased compliance of minimum wage payment; deductions from wages – as penalties – are becoming rare.
? Factory owners have started to assign a human resources, welfare or social compliance officer, and complaints can be directed to him/her.
? Some factories have created a “social welfare committee”10.
? Ventilation regulations are better observed.
? There is less verbal abuse.
? Workers increasingly receive a copy of their appointment cards (contract).
? Child labour is eradicated in export factories.
These observations seem valid for medium or large export garment factories but not for small factories which are producing for the domestic market. Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in June 2006 between Employers, Employees and Government (Labour and Employment Ministries), after a period of severe labour unrest.
The 10 conditions agreed upon in the deal were:
- Reaching a consensus on immediate end to unrest
- Withdrawing the cases filed against the workers in Gazipur, Ashulia and Savar and releasing the arrested workers.
- No workers will be terminated.
- Reopening the closed factories immediately.
- All workers to be given appointment letters and identity cards.
- No obstruction in fair trade unionism and combined bargaining.
- One-day weekly holiday for workers and otherholidays as mentioned in the existing labour law.
- Overtime allowances to the workers enjoying regularsalary as per the labour law
9. Maternity leave with pay as per the labour law,
10. Forming a Wage Board to fix wages.
In Bangladesh, for RMG sector , Wage Board set the minimum wage and which was increased for all categories of workers in the garment industry and came into effect on 22 October 2006 ,It had not been revised in the last 12 years. It is now set at 1662.5 Taka per month (about 16.5 EUR) for a Grade 7 worker (entry-level, unskilled). The worker had been asking that the minimum wage be increased from 900 Taka to 3 000 Taka.
6. INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOUR IN BANGLADESH
In 2002, approximately 18.5 percent of boys and 7.9 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Bangladesh.7. Most working children live in rural areas, 8.and many begin to work at a very early age.9 The majority of working children 5 to 14 years work in the agricultural sector (62.3 percent), followed by services (23.2 percent), manufacturing (12.6 percent), and other sectors( 2 percent). Street children, mostly boys, can be found in urban areas begging, portering, shining shoes, collecting paper, and selling flowers and other items.10Children are found working in the following activities, sometimes under hazardous conditions:auto repair;11 battery recharging and recycling;12 road transport, such as rickshaw-pulling andfare-collecting;13 saw milling; welding; metalworking; carpentry; fish drying;14 fish and shrimpfarming; leather tanning; brick-breaking; construction; and manufacturing matches15 and garments.16 A large number of children, mostly girls, work as domestic servants in privatehouseholds, some in conditions resembling servitude.17 These child domestics are vulnerable toabuse, including sexual abuse.18Boys and girls, often those living on the streets, are exploited in illicit activities including smuggling and trading arms and drugs.19Large numbers of children are exploited in the commercial sex industry.20Trafficking of children for prostitution, domestic service, and other purposes is a significant problem in Bangladesh;21some children are sold or sent into trafficking situations by their parents.
7. UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.
8. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Report on National Child Labour Survey 2002-03, Dhaka, December 2003, available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/newdelhi/ipec/download/resources/bangladesh/bgd_rep03_eng3_1.pdf
9. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports- 2006: Bangladesh,” Section 6d.
10. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Baseline Survey of Street Children in Bangladesh, Dhaka, December 7, 2003,ix-x; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/2003_streetchildren_bangladesh.pdf.
11. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Baseline Survey on Working Children in Automobile Establishments, Dhaka,November 2003, viii; available from
12. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Baseline Survey on Child Workers in Battery Recharging/Recycling Sector,2002-03, Dhaka, February 2004, 23; available from
13. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Report of the Baseline Survey on Child Workers in Road Transport Sector,Dhaka, March 2004, 25; available from
14. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports- 2006: Bangladesh,” Section 6d.
15. U.S. Department of State, “Bangladesh,” in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2005, Washington, DC,March 8, 2006, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61705.htm.
16. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, National Child Labour Survey 2002-03, 191. See also National Labor
Committee, Child Labor is Back: Children Are Again Sewing Clothing for Major U.S. Companies, New York,October 2006
17 .ILO, Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (Forced Labor Convention, 1930), ILO Conference, 75th Session, Geneva, 2004; available from
http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/index.cfm?lang=EN. See also U.S. Department of State,”Country Reports- 2006: Bangladesh,” Section 6c.
18. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties, Concluding Observations: Bangladesh, CRC/C/15/Add.221, Geneva, October 27, 2003, 15.”Country Reports- 2006: Bangladesh,” Sections 5 and 6c.
19. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Street Children in Bangladesh, x. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers: CRC Country Briefs, London, February 1, 2003See also ECPAT International, South Asia Regional Consultation onProstitution of Boys, press release, Dhaka, June 8-9, 2006.
20.U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports- 2006: Bangladesh,” Section 5.
In this present world is running smoothly with the help of following some rules in every sector. As like other sector, business sector is very much important to run smoothly. That is why the Labor and Business Act emerged. And, Bangladesh also updated its Labor Act in 2006. With the help of this Act and with the direct supervision of the Act each and every industry should run. Otherwise, they will fail in the competition as well as they will loose their legal entity. On the other hand, this era is the time of complex competition. Every organization tries to used the competitive advantage. From my point of view, If every organization strictly follow rules and regulation of Labor Act then it will helpful for the people to get greater benefit. If they have so then they will give their highest productivity that will increase the whole productivity of the organization, which will increase the national growth of the country.
We can conclude with the view that the law should be always equal for everyone; no discrimination should appear in any circumstances. It means the law should be enforced as same as for the servants as well as for the king. No one is out of the law. But enforce the right judgment the law should be governed by one or somebody who has the ability to handle the supreme power with loyalty, the one may be from the citizens of the nation. But to whom the supreme power is given will act as the guardian of the law, not as the anarchist. He should act also as the servant of the law as well otherwise full respect will not be proven to the law.
From the above discussion, we always tries to follow the Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006. But not in every sector they are succeed. There is some short comings. They have to try to minimize it. They are as follows-
1. In first-aid appliances, organization has to try to supply some medicines for the employees so that the employees can have it easily in the time of emergency.
2. The factories, which are located out side of Dhaka city, do not have enough facilities for washing. They should try to provide the washing facilities towards the factory, which are not in the Dhaka city.
3. In this modern time, more and more female workers are coming to the work. So, they must try to build rooms for children.
4. Their maternity facility is not enough for the women employees. They should try to give some additional benefit in the time of delivery to the women employees.
- Ahmed Dr. Zulfiquar; A text book of Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006, 1st edition, Shams Publications.
- Sen Arun Kumar & Mitra Jitendra Kumar; Commercial Law and Industrial Law, 26th edition, The world press private limited, Kolkata.
- Bagrial Ashok K.; Company Law, 10th edition, Vikas Publishing house private limited.
4. World Bank data, http://go.worldbank.org/770VR4DIU0
5. Source: http://bgmea.com.bd
6. World Bank data 2006.
7. According to BGMEA figures for July 06-June 07. Source: BGMEA newsletter July 07
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