Do you think that the current legal mechanism of Bangladesh is adequate in order to protect labor rights-Explain & Illustrate.
No law can ensure the protection of the citizens for the rights they are titled by the law until and unless the legal mechanism of the country is adequate enough to ensure the proper execution, judiciary and criminal process. The UN has backed labor rights by incorporating several into the following two articles-
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests
1. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
2. See http://www.businesslaws.boi.gov.bd/components/com_eregistry/attach/52.%20The%20Bangladesh%20Labour%20Act,%202006.pdf the “BANGLADESH LABOR ACT 2006” contents.
The labor rights of Bangladesh is protected by the “ LABOR LAW ACT 2006 ( Bangladesh srom ain 2006 act 42). In this act the labor rights from the joining to the end of employment with the certain employer and the obligation of the employer, behavior of the employee, circumstances under which the employment agreement can be terminated, punishment of breaching the law and trade unions and others in 21 different sections of the ACT2. But whether the soul purpose of the law, protecting the rights can be achieved is mostly depended on the execution, judiciary and criminal process of the country.
Current general mechanism in Bangladesh:
q The legislature
The Parliament of Bangladesh is a unicameral legislature consisting of 300 members. They are directly elected from an equal number of territorial constituencies, which is one from each constituency, on the basis of adult franchise. Earlier there used to be 30 seats reserved for women who were elected by the directly elected Members. This provision in the Constitution for the reservation of seats for women was a transitory one. The 7th Parliament was the last Parliament to have this reservation. With the exception of the first Parliament, which had 15 reserved seats for women, and the fourth Parliament, which had no such reservation, all previous Parliaments (before 8th Parliament) of Bangladesh had included the 30 reserved seats. In the 8th Parliament the Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act, 2004 was passed by the Parliament on May 2004 by which the following provision was inserted in the constitution of Bangladesh.
Elected by the eligible citizens of the country once in every five years are the responsible person to pass, modify, halt any law in the country. With the required 2 third support of the members the law is passed here and forwarded to the honorable president for his approval and than sent to be published as gazette. Prior to that the draft copy of the law is taken care by the parliamentary committee. 3
q The executive
The most important part regarding the application and effectiveness of the law is the executive level. Different executive level range from the ministry to the law enforce forces like police, special forces and supervisory forces to make sure the smooth and proper execution of the law. There are different ministries who supervise the application of the law and facilitate in the process of application of the law and for the issues related labor rights is handled by Ministry of Labor and employment Bangladesh.4
q The judiciary
The present legal and judicial system of Bangladesh owes its origin mainly to two hundred years British rule in the Indian Sub-Continent although some elements of it are remnants of Pre-British period tracing back to Hindu and Muslim administration. It passed through various stages and has been gradually developed as a continuous historical process. The process of evolution has been partly indigenous and partly foreign and the legal system of the present day emanates from a mixed system which has structure, legal principles and concepts modeled on both Indo-Mughal and English law. The Indian sub-continent has a known history of over five hundred years with Hindu and Muslim periods which preceeded the British period, and each of these early periods had a distinctive legal system of its own.
The judiciary system of our Bangladesh starts from sub judge court to supreme court with two different division high court and appellate division. The civil court and criminal court is different. The dispute raised relating labor issues are mainly settled in the civil court. 5
4. See http://www.bangladesh.gov.bd/index.php?option=com_weblinks&task=ministry&Itemid=152 and Art. 65(3) “Until the dissolution of Parliament occurring next after the expiration of the period of ten years beginning from the date of the first meeting of the Parliament next after the Parliament in existence at the time of the commencement of the Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act. 2004, there shall be reserved forty five seats exclusively for women members and they will be elected by the aforesaid members in accordance with law on the basis of procedure of proportional representation in the Parliament through single transferable vote:”.
q The criminal process
Bangladesh has its own criminal process consisting jails and rehabitation center for the one who’s guilty is proven in the judiciary system. Though its often claimed to be under capacity according to the demand.
Dedicated authorities for labor right issues
in the labor law 2006 section 20 clause 317 different dedicated post was created like director, assistant director and others to facilitate the smooth supervisions of proper effectiveness of the labor law 2006. The authority of these posts are 6–
1. To inspect different commercial facilities whenever necessary
2. To inspect the documentation of the facilities
3. To supervise whether the labor law act 2006 is effective totally
4. To collect statement from the related workforce
5. To examine the statement
6. Issue show cause to the employer in case of breach of the law
7. To do other duty titled by this law
6. See http://www.businesslaws.boi.gov.bd/components/com_eregistry/attach/52.%20The%20Bangladesh%20Labour%20Act,%202006.pdf detail of section 20.
Limitations of the resource in the current mechanism
The labor law 2006 entitles the labor with different rights but the implication is threatened because of the limitations in the current mechanism. Following are the few rights and limitation of resources to implement them-
v In section 2 the it is clearly mentioned that the employment procedure must be conducted with written documents and the labor is to be provided a service book which contains all the data related his previous employment, record of the previous employer etc. But in our country there is no central monitoring system to ensure that the facility is provided to the labors or any violation has taken place7.
v A written register to have record of the job description including pay scale and type of payment is titled to be maintained by this law. But supervisory authority of Bangladesh lack enough man power to ensure that8.
v In case of lay off, dismissal, forced leave the labor is entitled with certain rights which they are not mostly aware of and there is no government initiative to make them aware of their rights.
v In section 4 of labor law 2006 the female labor are entitled with different maternity facilities. But in Bangladesh the labor force is not that aware of the facilities and government or the employers does not take necessary steps to make them aware of such rights9.
v In section 5 of labor are entitled with different types of health and workplace safety facilities. But in Bangladesh the co ordination among different ministries is not that good so whether the law is properly maintained is tough to supervise as it demands the co ordination of labor ministry and health ministry10.
7. See labor law 2006 section 2(1)
8. Seelabor law 2006 section 2 9(1)
9. See labor law section 4
In our study we found that the existing mechanism in our country is not enough to make sure the rights of labor are protected which they are titled by the labor law 2006. Following are the recommendation to overcome the limitation in implementing the labor law 2006 and ensure the rights of the labor-
Ø Ensure central data maintenance to secure the employment record of the labor and proper value of employment life span.
Ø Provide adequate man power to ensure the capability of the government monitoring agencies to make sure written documents ordered by the labor law 2006 are properly kept.
Ø Making sure proper co ordination among the different government agencies to provide quick response to the change of different circumstances.
Ø Taking government and NGO initiative to create awareness among the labor about the rights they are titled with by the labor law 2006.
Ø A regular inspection of the workplace regarding workplace security should be made mandatory to make sure the work place safety for the labor.
Ø Government and NGO should come up with low cost or free legal service for the labor force is dispute rises.
Ø Government should have active labor care cell in every thana level so that the service is in the foot steps of the labor.
Ø Adequate number of magistrate should be appointed to settle the dispute raised between labor and employer.
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