Labor rights or workers’ rights are a group of legal rights and claimed human rights having to do with labor relations between workers and their employers, usually obtained under labor and employment law. In general, these rights’ debates have to do with negotiating workers’ pay, benefits, and safe working conditions. One of the most central of these “rights” is the right to unionize. Unions take advantage of collective bargaining and industrial action to increase their members’ wages and otherwise change their working situation. The labor movement initially focused on this “right to unionize”, but attention has shifted else where .Critics of the labor rights movement claim that regulation promoted by labor rights activists may limit opportunities for work.
Labor law (also called labor law or employment law) is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. As such, it mediates many aspects of the relationship between trade unions, employers and employees. Rights of laborers and workers have been recognized all over the world. One of the principal functions of the ILO is setting international labor standards through the adoption of conventions and recommendations covering a broad spectrum of labor-related subjects and which, together, are sometimes referred to as the International Labor Code. The topics covered in clude a wide range of issues, from freedom of association to health and safety at work, working conditions in the maritime sector, night work, discrimination, child labor, and forced labor. In order to establish and ensure the rights and obligations of labors and workers, Laws are enacted to bring a balance in society and to guarantee harmony between the two conflicting forces, the workers and the employers.
The Law of Bangladesh is primarily in accordance with the English legal system although since 1947, the legal scenario and the laws of Bangladesh have drifted far from the West owing to differences in socio-cultural values and religious guidelines.
- Laws inconsistent with fundamental rights to be void (Article-26)
- Equality before law (Article-27)
- Discrimination on grounds of religion, etc. (Article-28)
- Equality of opportunity in public employment (Article-29)
- Prohibition of foreign titles, etc. (Article-30)
- Right to protection of law (Article-31)
- Protection of right to life and personal liberty (Article-32)
- Safeguards as to arrest and detention (Article-33)
1 Prohibition of forced labor (Article-34)
1. Protection in respect of trial and punishment (Article-35)
1Freedom of movement (Article-36)
1.Freedom of assembly (Article-37)
1. Freedom of association (Article-38)
1.Freedom of thought and conscience, and of speech (Article-39)
1. Freedom of profession or occupation (Article-40)
1. Freedom of religion (Article-41)
1..Rights of property (Article-42)
1.Protection of home and correspondence (Article-43)
1.Enforcement of fundamental rights (Article-44)
1.Modification of rights in respect of disciplinary law (Article-45)
1. Power to provide indemnity (Article-46)
1 Saving for certain laws (Article-47)
The Bangladesh Labour Code,2006 by MD Abdul Halim & Masum Saifur Rahman (CCB Foundation).
- J.B.Coker and J.P.Martin, (1985) Licensed to Live, 1st edition , Basil Blackwell
- Business Law by CIMA
- Labour And Industrial Law by Prof A.A. Khan
- Handbook Of Commercial Law by A.K.Sen
- Norrie, A (1991), Law, and Ideolog, Kluwer
- J.B.Coker and J.P.Martin, (1985) Licensed to Live, 1st edition by Basil Blackwell
Hudson, B,( 2003) Understanding Justice, 2nd edition, Butterworths
Business Law by Denis Keenan and Sarah Riches
- Contract Law by Mc Kendrick E.
- Liberty Concepts in Labor Relations” By Byron R. Abernathy.
- Rule of Law In Bangladesh: An Overview. By MD. Awal Hossain Mollah. Lecturer, Dept. of Public Administration
- The Harkin Bill and Our Reality .by Nur Khan Liton.
See in “Liberty Concepts in Labor Relations” By Byron R. Abernathy (page 99), in this quotation, it is about the basic rights, their needs and necessities and the equality between employee and the employer. An employee have right to leave the service for any reason. The employer has to give minimum rate of wage of market value to his employee.
Bangladesh People(s) has 23 Fundamental Rights.It Approve by The Constitution of Bangladesh, Part- Article 26 to 47A. The Fundamental Rights are:
These are the fundamental rights in Bangladesh. In this assignment, our discussion topic is the labor law of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a developing country, of which 70% people live by giving labors in their respective work place and maintain them under laws.
One of the basic principles of the English constitution is the rule of law. This doctrine is also accepted in the constitution of Bangladesh. Rule of law is one of the most talked about subjects these days in the developing countries. Developed countries and donor agencies always advise developing countries for sustainable development and good governance. Sustainable development and well defined governance mostly depend on the proper application of law and order. Laws are made for the welfare of the people, to bring a balance in society, mainly the equality. One of the prime objects of making laws is to maintain law and order in society, a peaceful environment for the progress of the people. In a true and practical sense, presently there is no rule of law in Bangladesh. Law in Bangladesh follows a course of selective and discretionary application. Institution and procedures required for ensuring the proper application of law also are not effective in Bangladesh.
RULE OF LAW IN BANGLADESH
Laws, rules and regulations are formed to cover every perspective of our life. Though there may be parities in number and shortcomings in scope. Our constitution contains quite a number of laws while institutions like courts, ministries and departments have been set up to dispense justice and make decisions in accordance with the present state of the rule of law reveals the riddle of having a body of law and at the same time not having it. This means the results are never fruitful.
THE BANGLADESH LABOR ACT
An Act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to employment of labor, relations between workers and employers,. equalities of their rights, determination of minimum wage, payment of wages and compensation for injuries to workers, formation of trade unions, raising and settlement of industrial disputes, health, education, safety, welfare and working conditions of workers, and apprenticeship. It is expedient to consolidate and amend the laws to employment of labor, relations between employees and employers, determination of minimum wages, payment of wages and compensation for injuries to employees, trading and settlement of industrial disputes, health, safety, welfare and working conditions of workers, apprenticeship and matters connected therewith;
Sources of regulation
The Employment of Labor (Standing Orders) Act, 1965 (as amended in 1985) (ELSOA), and the Industrial Relations Ordinance, 1969 (as amended in 1975) (IRO), regulate termination of employment in Bangladesh.
Scope of legislation
The ELSOA applies to all shops, commercial and industrial establishments (as defined by the Shops and Establishments Act, 1965), as well as all other industrial establishments where five or more workers are employed.
The ELSOA excludes from its scope shop workers or persons employed in commercial or industrial enterprises owned and directly managed by the State (sec. 1, ELSOA). The public servants are covered by the Government Servants’ Conduct Rules.
Contracts of employment
Employment contracts are divided into various types of work relationships distinguishing between apprentices, the badlis
The period of probation for a worker is six months for work of a clerical nature and three months for other probationers (sec. 4, ELSOA).
Termination of employment
A distinction is made in the ELSOA between different types of termination of employment relationship. Not at the initiative of the employer, the employment relationship can be terminated, in particular, by the expiry of a fixed-term contract, the worker’s resignation, or by the completion of the task for which the contract was concluded. (secs. 2, 19, ELSOA).If a permanent worker desires to terminate his/her employment, one month’s notice in the case of monthly rates workers, and 14 days’ notice in the case of other workers, must be given in writing to the employer (sec. 19 (2), ELSOA).
There are three main types of termination of employment at the initiative of the employer as defined in the ELSOA: discharge for incapacity, dismissal for misconduct and retrenchment for redundancy. These statutory rules are applicable to workers who have been continuously employed by the employer for more than one year.
An employer is required to justify termination of employment where it falls under the categories of “discharge” or “dismissal” as defined under the ELSOA. For termination unrelated to such reasons, that is, mere termination, the employer is only required to give notice and pay compensation, as defined under the statute (sec. 19, as modified by the 1985 Amendments).
“Discharge” means the termination of services of a worker for reasons of physical or mental incapacity or continued ill health or similar reasons not amounting to misconduct (sec. 2(f), ELSOA).
“Dismissal” is defined as the termination of services of a worker by the employer for misconduct (sec. 2(g), ELSOA). The statute outlines several categories of misconduct including willful insubordination or disobedience, theft, fraud or dishonesty, bribery, habitual late attendance, habitual negligence of work, and falsifying or tampering with the employer’s official records (sec. 17, ELSOA). Workers may also be dismissed for participating in a “go-slow” or illegal strike provided that permission is obtained from the Labor Court (secs. 17(j), 18(7), ELSOA).
Termination of employment on the grounds of trade union membership or activity is unlawful in Bangladesh (sec. 25, ELSOA).
“Retrenchment” means the termination by the employer of the services of workers on the ground of redundancy (sec. 2(q), ELSOA).
In the event of fire, catastrophe, machinery breakdown, power outage, epidemic, civil commotion or other causes beyond the employer’s control, the employer may stop work (lay-off). The employer has to notify the workers affected as soon as practicable (sec. 6, ELSOA). If a worker is laid off for more than 45 days during a year, the employer may retrench him or her (sec. 9, ELSOA).
Notice and prior procedural safeguards
For mere termination of employment of a permanent worker, except the cases of discharge, dismissal or retrenchment, the employer is required to give 90 days’ notice for monthly paid workers and 45 days’ notice for other permanent workers. Such notice must be in writing, but payment in lieu of notice (sec. 19, ELSOA) may be substituted.
Workers may also be dismissed without notice or compensation if guilty of misconduct or a criminal offence (sec. 17(1), ELSOA). Where a worker is alleged to have committed misconduct, he or she must be given the opportunity to defend himself or herself against the allegations made. First, the allegations must be made in writing and the worker must be given a copy and an opportunity to explain his or her conduct in no less than three days. This includes a right to an oral personal hearing. He or she may, however, be suspended from employment pending inquiry into the charges. However, such suspension may not exceed a period of 60 days where the matter is pending before a court and the worker must be paid a subsistence allowance equivalent to half of his or her average income (sec. 18, ELSOA).
For mere termination of employment of a permanent worker, who has been employed in continuous service for more than one year, the employer is required to pay his/her employee compensation at the rate of 14 days’ wages for each completed year of service (sec. 19(1) as amended, ELSOA).
In case of retrenchment, workers who have been employed in continuous service for more than one year, are entitled to severance pay equivalent to 30 days’ wages for every completed year of service or for every part thereof in excess of six months in addition to gratuity, if any (sec. 12, ELSOA).
In case of discharge from service for incapacity, workers who have been employed in continuous service for more than one year, are entitled to compensation at the rate of 30 days’ wages for every completed year of service (sec. 12, ELSOA).
Under the ELSOA as amended in 1985, workers who have been dismissed for misconduct or for a criminal offence, are also entitled to compensation if their service amounts to more than one year, at a rate of 14 days’ wages for every completed year of service, or for any part thereof in excess of six months, or gratuity, if any, whichever is higher.
In case of lay-off, for the first three weeks of stoppage the workers are to receive full wages. After three weeks of stoppage employees may be laid off and receive compensation equal to half of the total of the basic wage and dearness allowance (and equal to one-quarter after 45 days) (sec. 9, ELSOA).
In conclusion I can say that Labor rights have to do with negotiating workers’ pay, benefits, equal rights and conditions. And labor law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. As Rights of laborers and workers have been recognized all over the world, labor law is also has been one of the most talked about topic in Bangladesh also. The topics covered include a wide range of issues, from freedom of association to health and safety at work, working conditions in the maritime sector, night work, discrimination, child labor, forced labor and many more things. Laws are enacted to bring a balance in society and to guarantee harmony between the two conflicting forces, the workers and the employers. One of the prime objects of making laws is to maintain law and order in society, a peaceful and serene environment in the work place.
I think the current legal mechanism of Bangladesh can be more adequate if it includes those laws, I have mentioned earlier. In a true and practical sense, presently there is no rule of law in Bangladesh. Law in Bangladesh follows a course of selective and discretionary application. Institution and procedures required for ensuring the proper application of law also are not effective in Bangladesh. There is some laws, which can be re-structured:
*Child education and health
*Education for labor
These laws will create a peaceful environment for the progress of the people. It will also make a proper labor law in our country.
Nur Khan Liton, The Harkin Bill and Our Reality (paper presented at the Coordinating Council of Human Rights in Bangladesh, September 5, 1993);
Interview with Mufleh R. Osmany, Foreign Secretary, Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, by Department of Labor official (May 14, 1994)
Visit of Department of Labor Official to Dhaka, May 1994.
International Labor Organization (ILO), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland monitors such activities in all its member countries.
This estimate does not include children working below 10 years of age. See International Child Labor Hearing, U.S. Department of Labor (April 12, 1994) (Statement of Dr. Abdul Momen)[hereinafter Testimony of Momen].
Country Reports at 1331
RULE OF LAW IN BANGLADESH: AN OVERVIEW, MD. AWAL HOSSAIN MOLLAH Lecturer, Dept. of Public Administration (page 1, 3)
The Law of Bangladesh is primarily in accordance with the English legal system although since 1947Interview with Redwan Ahmed, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Member of Parliament, by Department of Labor official (May 14, 1994). This figure was supported by the Bangladesh Joint Secretary for Labor. Interview with Humayan Shamsul Kabir, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Ministry of Labor, by Department of Labor official (May 17, 1994)[hereinafter Interview with Joint Secretary for Labor].
ELSOA is stands for The Employment of Labor (Standing Orders) Act, 1965 (as amended in 1985)
badli is a person employed in the post of a temporary or permanent worker during his or her absence), casual workers, permanent and temporary workers (sec. 2, ELSOA).
According to ELSOA there are three types of termination, discharge for incapacity, dismissal for misconduct and retrenchment for redundancy. Visit of Department of Labor official to Dhaka, May 1994.
“Dismissal” is defined as the termination of services of a worker by the employer for misconduct (sec. 2(g), ELSOA).
Interview with Mufleh R. Osmany, Foreign Secretary, Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, by Department of Labor official (May 14, 1994) 1994 AAFLI Bangladesh Report at 9
See Dhaka Courier (Dhaka), September 10, 1993; Nur Khan Liton, Termination of employment of a permanent worker, for more than one year, the employer is required to pay his/her employee compensation at the rate of 14 days’ wages for each completed year of service.