The relationship between employer and employee or trade unions is called Industrial Relation (IR). Harmonious relationship is necessary for both employers and employees to safeguard the interests of both parties of the production. In order to maintain good relationship with the employees, the main functions of every organization should avoid any dispute with them or settle it as early as possible so as to ensure industrial peace and higher productivity. The main objective of industrial relation is to maintain harmoniums production situation, avoiding industrial unrest for smooth productivity. Industrialization; and high industrialization was possible only on excellent industrial relation situation. If there is no industrial relation or no relationship between employers and worker, or among the employers, production or productivity will not come into reality.
Bangladesh is not an industrialized country nor does it have huge natural resources as yet. People could be the only resource if they could be turned into human resources. Rapid and sustainable industrial development is the mean for the national prosperity. Healthy industrial relation is the only way for greater productivity, and greater productivity can create more and more investment for industrialization. In Bangladesh, trade unions are not well organized, powerful, not backed by spontaneous workers support, highly politicalized, and the members are not efficient enough to raise voice for the workers. Many of the entrepreneurs and employers do not believe in industrial relation, rather they like treating workers as the most neglected component of production, uses the bad technique of managing the leaders rather encouraging trade union for industrial relation. In short, industrial relation situation in Bangladesh is not encouraging.
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh, located in South Asia and bordering India and Myanmar, was part of British India until 1947. It became a separate province of Pakistan on 14 August 1947, when the sub-continent was partitioned into two independent sovereign dominions, India and Pakistan. Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan and became an independent sovereign state after a bloody liberation war in 1971.
The history of industrial relations system of this country can be traced back to the Trade Union Act, 1926 introduced by British rulers. The main purpose of the Act was to provide for the registration of trade unions and in certain respects, define the law relating to registered trade unions. But the Act did not contain any provision regarding strikes. In 1929 the Trade Disputes Act put restrictions on strikes in public utility services. The Act provided for the establishment of tribunals to adjudicate upon the labour disputes. In 1947 the Industrial Disputes Act placed the conciliation and adjudication machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes on a permanent footing. In decade following partition of India, the then Pakistan government mostly adopted the colonial legacy with regard to labour laws. However, a major development took place in the legal framework of industrial relations in 1965 when the East Pakistan Trade Unions Act, 1965 was enacted repealing the Trade Unions Act, 1926.
But the Act could not facilitate healthy growth of trade unions as it was more restrictive on the freedom of association and right to organize. The period between 1947 and 1969 was thus marked by a host of repressive laws and witnessed labour agitation and widespread industrial unrest. Subsequently, the Labour Disputes Act, 1965 and Trade Unions Act, 1965 were integrated into one law, namely Industrial Relations Ordinance, 1969, which made provisions for recognition of collective bargaining agents for establishment or group of establishments. Thus, the Ordinance was a landmark development in the evolution of collective bargaining in Bangladesh. After the emergence of Bangladesh, development of industrial relations was strained by imposition of martial laws, proclamation of state of emergency at different times, and promulgation of host of other laws and policy which inhibited the growth of sound industrial relations in Bangladesh.
Since independence of Bangladesh, no major development took place in the history of labour legislation till the enactment of the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006. The Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 is a major and comprehensive enactment regarding industrial relation system– partly as a response to demand of stakeholders for improving regulatory framework on trade union and partly by demand for codification of existing labour laws in order to avoid overlapping and inconsistencies. It brought some significant changes in industrial relation system.
However, the Act has not been able to bring the desired changed due to its in-built weaknesses, suspension of many labour rights under state of emergency and lack of institutional capacity to implement the laws. Industrial relations (IR) are also concerned with determination of wages and conditions of employment. IR and human relations are distinctly two indispensable factors in industry, one depending on the other.. Good industrial relations provide the necessary background for human relations. In any undertaking, good relations between the management and workers depend upon the degree of mutual confidence which can be established.
Objectives of the Study
Every task has a particular aim. A study without objective cannot reach its destination. The main objective of the study is to know about “Industrial Relations in Bangladesh”. Some other objectives of this study mention in the following: 1. To know about industrial rules and regulations of Bangladesh. 2. To know current situation of Industrial relations in Bangladesh. 3. To find out the problems of Industrial relations in Bangladesh. 4. To know the role of various parties like employers, employees, and government in maintaining industrial relations. 5. To explore the factors that is responsible for the development of an effective international system of industrial relations.
We have collected data in the following ways:
Desk report of the related department.
Other manual information.
Different reference books of the library
Industrial Relations in Bangladesh
The history of industrial relations system of Bangladesh can be traced back to the Trade Union Act, 1926 introduced by British rulers. The main purpose of the Act was to provide for the registration of trade unions and in certain respects, define the law relating to registered trade unions. But the Act did not contain any provision regarding strikes. In 1929 the Trade Disputes Act put restrictions on strikes in public utility services. The Act provided for the establishment of tribunals to adjudicate upon the labour disputes. In 1947 the Industrial Disputes Act placed the conciliation and adjudication machinery for the settlement of industrial disputes on a permanent footing.
Since independence of Bangladesh, no major development took place in the history of labour legislation till the enactment of the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006. The Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 is a major and comprehensive enactment regarding industrial relation system partly as a response to demand of stakeholders for improving regulatory framework on trade union and partly by demand for codification of existing labour laws in order to avoid overlapping and inconsistencies. It brought some significant changes in industrial relation system. However, the Act has not been able to bring the desired changed due to its in-built weaknesses, suspension of many labour rights under state of emergency and lack of institutional capacity to implement the laws.
Nature of Industrial Relations in Bangladesh
Industrial relations is not limited to just in simple organizational job related terms but in broader social, political, and economic terms. As they are integrates with each other and cannot be separated. We shall describe it briefly now:
I. Social: In society we can see three spares high, middle and low. This same thing can be seen for the organizations. Now the higher level management always remains out of site of the lower. They only communicate with the middle and middle communicates with the lower. It has created a big distance among the organizations. Each level treats their lower level very badly so the working environment becomes very hasty. AI. Political: In Bangladesh politics is everywhere. One may find politics when they got into the job. Then in trade unions, there is high influence of politics so the general employees have no faith in it. To find a work for the company there is no surety to get it by strait fight. So in Bangladesh political barriers is the biggest nature. BI. Economical: Bangladesh is low earning country with a vast amount of population. So we can see some people finding the way of earning more by using the cheap labor and becomes more reach whereas the poor becomes poorer. So relations between employer & employee becomes like master & slave.
A trade union is an organization created to improve conditions in the workplace. Whether the issue is wages, sick time, or medical benefits, trade unions negotiate with employers on behalf of union members. When employees and employers are unable to reach an agreement, trade union leadership works with employers to negotiate a compromise. Regardless of the outcome, all members of the trade union must follow the agreed upon solution.
Trade union is an organization of employees or workers who formally join together to promote, protect, maintain and improve their social, economic, and political power of its members.
Legal Framework of Trade Union
The Constitution of Bangladesh provides the basic legal foundation for formation of organizations by workers and employers. The main statutory framework for such organizations is the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006. The Act recognizes both right of workers to join trade unions and the right of employers to join associations. Section 176 of the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006 provides that every worker has the right to constitute a trade union and to join an association of their choosing. In order to be registered, a trade union must have a minimum membership of 30 per cent of the total number of workers employed in any establishment or group of establishments in which it is formed. According to section 183 of the Act, a group of establishments shall be deemed to be one establishment for the purpose of formation of trade union. As a requirement of formation of trade union, the Act prescribes election of officers by the general body of trade union and provides that the term of officer shall not exceed two years upon his election or re-election.
The Act also allows trade union in civil aviation sector but in terms of percentage of workers, it requires that half of the total number of workers. Procedure of Registration and Cancellation of Registration of Trade Union The Bangladesh Labor Act 2006 provides for registration of trade unions with a view to rendering lawful organization of labor to enable collective bargaining. Through its registration, the trade union acquires certain benefits including legal existence as an entity separate from its members. However, certificate of registration is issued by the Director of Labor. Registration of trade union confers a legal existence as an entity separate from its members. According to section 194(1), a registered trade union is a statutory body with legal entity and consequently it can own property, enter into contract, sue and be sued by the name in which it is registered. Section 192 provides that no trade union, which is unregistered or whose registration has been cancelled shall function as a trade union. Functions of Trade Union
Trade unions work to improve the work environment and salaries of union members. The leaders of the trade union negotiate with employers on behalf of the entire union for wage increases, more vacation time, better working hours and benefits. Any decisions agreed upon by the union leadership and employers are binding on all union members. However, trade unions meet regularly to discuss complaints and concerns, as well as to vote on these decisions prior to negotiations. If negotiations stall, many trade unions reserve the right to strike. Features of trade union in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is an agricultural country and also developing country. So here worker are available working in the various industry. As a result many trade unions are established. These trade unions has some features, these are discussed below: • Leaders and members of the trade union are not well educated. • Trade union plays a great role in the movement of democracy. • Most of the trade unions are financially weak.
• Maximum trade unions are interconnecting with political parties.
• Effective, efficient, honest leaders are absent in trade union.
• Leaders of trade unions are self-oriented.
• Discriminatory behavior is observed in the trade unions. Characteristics of Trade Union in Bangladesh
The rate of workers’ participation in trade union of 20 million workers, only 2 million were members of trade union.
2. Plant level trade union
Trade union in Bangladesh are mainly plant level.
3. Political affiliation
Majority of the trade union in Bangladesh have links labor federation who are affiliated to different political parties.
4. Outside leadership
Outside leaders those are not worker also play a vital role in union leadership at various level.
5. Multiplicity of trade unionisms
Trade union in Bangladesh are fragmented in different political ideologies which create multiple unionisms.
6. Size of union
The size of the trade union in Bangladesh is very small, the model group of the union had membership ranging from 101 to 500 (about 33%) with average membership per union is about 359.
Structure of Trade Unions
Trade unions in Bangladesh may be divided into three categories: first, basic trade union – a primary organization of workers at the working place. Usually, the trade unions at plant level are termed basic unions. Trade union federation are the body of unions from the same industrial sector. Section 200(1) of the Act provides that any two or more registered trade unions formed in establishment which are engaged in or carrying on the same industry may constitute federation by executing an instrument of federation and the apply for the registration of the federation.
Again, federation of trade unions can be two types: industrial federation and national federation. Industrial federation can be composed of a number of basic trade unions related to the same type of industry, such as jute workers federation, textile workers federation, and garments workers federations.
National Federation is a federation of basic unions irrespective of job categories. A national federation may be constituted of two or more basic trade unions irrespectively of the trade. A national federation generally extends organizing and advisory services to its affiliated enterprise unions federations.
New Role for Trade Union Organizations
The role of trade union is changing to meet the demands of a changing society and labor well-being. Apart from their traditional role of intervention through collective bargaining, the trade unions of Bangladesh are also being organized to introduce social dialogue and framework agreement system; address social issues in the workforce such as gender inequality, HIV/AIDS, child labor and environmental and occupational hazards in the community.
Problems of Trade Union in Bangladesh:
1 Lack of consciousness: The major numbers of members of trade union are not actually completely aware about their legal rights and duties. That is the reason they don’t know the favorable characteristics of trade unions. 2 Lack of Unity: Trade union is actually a unity of the labor force for assuring their need. But in Bangladesh trade unions are separated for political influence. 3 Lack of knowledge: In our country the level of workers is not properly educated. They don’t have enough knowledge about their rights and duties. In this case trade union could be helpful very much to develop workers KSA, but the whole level of workers is lack in knowledge. 4 Political influence: The most powerful and deep affecting barrier for the growth of trade union of Bangladesh is its political environment.
Most of the trade unions of Bangladesh are not free from the political influence. 5 Division of trade union: Bangladesh is a country where every organization has more trade unions in name only. Those unions are driven by the political leaders of various political parties. So a huge verity of problem arises in the organizations. . 6. Financial Problems: The financial position of the trade unions is weak because their average yearly income is very low and inadequate. The subscription rates are very low. Under conditions of multiplicity of unions, a union interested in increasing its membership figures keeps the subscription rate unduly low
Collective Bargaining is the negotiation between representatives of management and workers to produce a written agreement covering terms and conditions of employment. It is essentially a compromise and balancing of opposing pressures of two social groups who have enough mutual interests to work together. Pressures at the bargaining table usually are framed in economic and technical terms. Bargaining is really a social process. Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) in relation to an establishment or group of establishments means the trade union of workers or federation of trade unions which, under chapter XIII, is the agent of the workers in the establishment, or group of establishments in the matter of collectively bargaining. Legal Framework of CB
Collective Bargaining was first introduced in Bangladesh under the framework of Industrial Relations Ordinance, 1969 (passed on 13 November 1969). This Ordinance emphasized sound industrial relation, through the protection of the workers right to trade unionism and collective bargaining. The legal framework on collective bargaining is governed by the provisions of the Labor Act 2006. According to section 209 and 210 of the Act collective bargaining is the first step in the industrial dispute settlement mechanism.
Functions of CBA
Undertake collective bargaining with the employer on matters connected with employment, non-employment, terms of employment and conditions of work. Represent all or any of the workmen in any work proceedings. Give notice of strike according to the provisions of the chapter. Nominate representatives of worker on the Board of Trustees of any welfare institutions or provident funds, and of the workers participation fund established under Chapter XV. Undertake legal proceedings on behalf of single or collective workers.
Collective Bargaining Activities
Collective bargaining is the oldest form of labor management negotiation in the industrial relations in Bangladesh. Because of the doctrine of multiple union systems the practice has been developed to select a collective bargaining agent (CBA) from among the registered unions in an enterprise or group of enterprises to undertake collective bargaining with the employer on behalf of the workers in that enterprise or group of enterprises. The main activities of CBA are as follows: 1. To undertake collective bargaining with the employer or employees on matters connected with employment, non-employment, terms of employment or the conditions of work; 2. To represent all or any of the workmen in, any proceedings; 3. To give notice of and declare a strike in accordance with the provisions of law. 4. To nominate representatives of workmen on the board of trustees of any welfare in institution or provident fund and of the workers’ participation fund. Issues Frequently Negotiated in CB in Bangladesh
Some of the important bargain able areas are –
1. Financial matters: 40% – 50% (wages, payments, promotions…)
2. Personnel & disciplinary matters: 25% – 30% (job security, insurance and benefits…)
3. Labor welfare matters: 30% (work tools, techniques and practices, health and safety…)
4. Administrative matters: 5% – 6% (union recognition, activities, management rights…)
5. Miscellaneous issue: 3% (incentive, work norms, working conditions …)
Factors Inhibiting the Effectiveness of CB in Bangladesh
1. Casual attitude of the parties toward CB
2. Multiple trade unionism
3. Poor trade union leadership
4. Lack of training and education about CB
5. Unrealistic demand
6. Problem to selecting sole CBA
7. Rigid stand taken by the parties
8. Interference by the government and political parties
9. Authoritarian attitude of management
10. Mutual distrust of the parties
11. Easy accessibility to adjudication
Practical Problems relating to CBA:
As we know that there is no equal footing between employers & employee in Bangladesh. The reasons (i.e. practical problems) for weak bargaining position of workers are given below: The frequent attempts by the ruling party (i.e. employers), to buy off or victimized trade union leaders by offering bribe to them. The unfavorable or authority attitude of the management. A weak industrial based and absence of real democratic practice in Bangladesh. Politicization of TU, inter and intra rival reach, opportunism of trade union leaders, absence of experienced TU Leaders at plant level etc. Workers Involvement and Participation
Workers participation is the most debated issues now-a-days. Nowhere has the concept been defined clearly because it has come to be associated with varying practices in different countries. The form and connotation of the term also vary according to the social and economic goals of a particular country. It means different things to different people. Workers participation Management is considered as a mechanism where workers have a say in the decision making process of an enterprise. Various participative Committees and Their Functions
The existence of various participative committees is observed in different of the world including Bangladesh. The committees and their functions are stated bellow:
1) Works committees: The function of this committee are promote welfare facilities, safety of workers, improve work environment, production, productivity matter, fix production target and achievements, consider working condition, maintenance of discipline at work levels, job redesign etc.
2) Joint committee: The functions of this committee are promoting effective participation of workers and management in vital matters of production, productivity, cost consciousness, working condition etc.
3) Safety committee: The functions of this committee are consider problem connected with accident, suggest preventive measures, frame safety rules, promote safety consciousness, recommend measures for the improvement of medical services, safety policy formulation and review.
4) Sport committee: The functions of this committee are organized sports and culture activities, running of sports club etc.
5) Joint production committee: The functions of this committee are improvement of productivity, plan and achieve production targets, improve methods and layout process.
6) Canteen committee: The functions of this committee are management of canteen, fix prices of food items, organizing the menus etc.
7) Joint management council: The functions of this committee are general welfare of workers, training and development policies eliminate wastes etc.
8) Grievance committee: The functions of this committee are disposing of grievances, improve industrial relations etc.
9) House allotment committee: The functions of this committee are allotment of company houses, the rate of house rent deduction, repairing of houses etc.
Factors Responsible for Work Participation Management Failure in Bangladesh
1. Lack of Supportive Climate in the organization
2. Workers fear of Victimization by the management
3. Management fear of giving up power
4. Lack of adequate education of work participative management
5. Lack of desire of workers to participate
6. Attitude of trade union
7. Multiplicity of union IndustriaIl Action
The Legal Framework of Industrial Action in Bangladesh
The right to strike is not explicitly set out in any International Labor Organization Convention or Recommendation; although it’s Committee on Freedom of Association declared in 1952 that strike action is one of the principal means by which workers and their association may legitimately promote and define their economic and social interest. In Bangladesh, Industrial Relation Act. 2004, the Industrial Relations Ordinance 1969, provide provisions for industrial actions such as strike, lock out. It is useful to consider first industrial dispute and trade union immunities, which are central to the legal status of industrial action and then the legal regulation of picketing and dismissal of strikers.
Causes of Industrial Action in Bangladesh
There are several causes of industrial action in Bangladesh. Specifically economic, political, social, legal, technical causes are responsible for industrial action in Bangladesh.
Disputes arise on the account of economic factors such as: wages, bonus, allowances, benefits, working condition, unjust dismissal, and retrenchment of workers. In Bangladesh most of action are caused for it.
Here political leaders have used unions as a powerful weapons to build tensions inside a plant with a view to satisfying their own private ends on a number of occasions especially in organized period places like Narayangonj, Tongi, Tejgaon, etc.
On many occasions, community, environment pressures and concerns also instigate the workers to take matters to street. The matter are for construction of road, bridge, establishment hospital, school etc. in the community.
The technological causes are responsible the disputes are changes in methods of production, implishment of new technology, using of new machineries.
Due to change in the market condition disputes may arise. The reasons are due to change in the price, change in living standard, inflation etc.
This includes all legal causes which are mentioned and described by the legislation. Such as not providing appropriate compensation, discharging workers illegally, not to do form trade union as the law.
Forms of Industrial Actions Practiced in Bangladesh
There are two types of forms of industrial action practiced by employees and employers in Bangladesh. Both categories express discontent, their difference lies in the intention behind them. 1) Unorganized individual forms of action
2) Organized collective action:
i) Through management
Closure of works
ii) Through employees
Benefits of Industrial Disputes
It must be remembered that industrial conflict can bring a variety of benefits. These include: It provides an opportunity for workers to express their dissatisfaction. Workers can bring issues to the attention of management before any long-term damage is done. New methods of doing things, whether this involves the decision-making process or changes in production techniques, can be introduced during negotiations. Productivity can be increased through changes in work and management practices. New communication lines can be opened between workers and management. Health and safety issues can be addressed.
The Labor Act 2006 foresees that a worker can raise a dispute before the Labor Court on the ground of violation of any right conferred by the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006. There is no alternative mechanism for settlement of individual disputes other than by the intervention of the Court. Individual disputes cannot be taken to court by the CBA as industrial disputes. Although this issue has been raised several times before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh the Court has made it clear that individual disputes cannot be entertained by the Labor Court as an industrial dispute. Dispute Settlement Machinery
The idea underlying the provisions of the Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006 is to settle industrial dispute and to promote industrial peace and establish a harmonious and cordial relationship between labor and capital by means of conciliation, mediation and adjudication. Bipartite negotiation and conciliation are two important methods of settlement of industrial disputes because they provide grounds for amicable settlement in a free and unfettered environment. As a third party the conciliators try to help the conflicting parties resolve their disputes amicably and restore good relationship between the disputants. Bipartite Negotiation
Routes of Dispute settlement in Bangladesh
The industrial relation ordinance has provided for non-judicial and mechanism to resolve industrial & other disputes. There are three different routes generally used in Bangladesh for industrial disputes resolution. The first routes is the non-judicial mediation process which includes negation, conciliation & arbitration. The second routes is non-judicial via judicial routes which includes negotiation, conciliation & then application to the labor court up until the appellate division. The third route is completely judicial starting with the labor court & ending in the appellate division.
1. Negotiation > conciliation >arbitration
2. Negotiation > conciliation >labor court >labor appellate tribunal >high court>appellate division
3. Labor court >labor appellate tribunal >high court >appellate division
Employee grievance refers to the dissatisfaction of an employee with what he expects from the company and its management. A company has to provide an employee with a safe working environment, realistic job preview, adequate compensation, respect etc. Different Forms of Grievance in Bangladesh
There are many different kinds of grievances, and usually in Nestle company determines few type of grievance to file according to whom is affected in different levels and workplace: 1. Individual Grievance: Most grievances affect one individual member and are therefore signed by them. Even by filing an individual grievance, operation is helping all members by defending the agreement and the rights of all those covered by the agreement. 2. Group Grievance: Several members have been affected in the same way at the same time, so a grievance is filed for the entire group. For example, management changes the start time for all day-shift workers.
3. Factual Grievance: when an employee is dissatisfied with his job, for factual and genuine reasons like a breach of term of employment or any other reasons that are clearly attributed to the management, he is said to have a factual grievance thus, factual grievance arise when the legitimate needs are unfulfilled. The problem that he has is real and not virtual. 4. Policy Grievance: Here the union and not the individual file the grievance. This occurs when management is either in violation of the collective agreement or incorrectly interprets it, which may affect all members in the future. For example, management assigns –a shift “day worker with regard to seniority. Effects of Grievance
1. It is a problem solving machinery.
2. For management it is a problem detector.
3. A channel through which employees present their grievances.
4. It ensures proper handling of grievances.
5. A method which helps employees to get relief from dissatisfaction.
6. Brings uniformity in grievance handling.
7. Develops confidence in employees.
Grievance Handling Procedure
Negative response to grievance
Consequences of mishandling grievances
Handling grievance effectively
Companies –handling grievance procedure and what you need to do
A grievance should be redressed as soon as p identifying an employee’s grievance adopted for identifying. The m grievances are: Open-door policy, Opinion Surveys, Gripe Box System and Exit Interview.
In this method, employees are requested to submit their grievances to their superiors and the problems are discussed and sorted out.
In this method, the employees express their grievances to persons who are not their superiors. The identity of the employee is not disclosed.
Gripe Box System:
The employees can drop their complaints in the complaint box. The employee need not disclose his identity if he so desires.
An employee may leave an organization due to dissatisfaction or on getting better employment. The information collected in an exit interview will be more reliable as the employee can express his opinion more freely and frankly which normally an employee may not do.
Discipline connotes a state of order in an organization. It also means compliance with the accepted order or proper appreciation of the hierarchical-superior-subordinate-relationship. The concepts of discipline emerge in a work situation from the interaction of manager and workers in an organization. Formal and informal rules and regulations govern the relationship between a manager and workers.
The basic objectives of Discipline:
1. Maintain peace and order in industry.
2. Promote constructive criticism at all levels of management and employment.
3. Avoid work stoppage in industry
4. Secure the settlement of disputes and grievances by a mutually agreed procedure
5. Avoiding litigations
6. Facilitate a free growth of trade unions
7. Eliminate all forms of coercion, intimidation and violations of rules and regulations governing industrial relations.
The service of an employee can be terminated by way of:
Discharge means the termination of service of worker by the employer for reasons of physical or mental incapacity
2) Discharge simpliciter
Discharge simpliciter means the terminate confidence and does necessarily imply any act of misconduct
Dismissal means the termination of services of a worker by the employer for misconduct
Procedure of Discharge and Dismissal
1. Show cause notice and/or charge-sheet
2. Giving copy to the worker
3. Domestic enquiry into charge and the right of hearing of the worker concerned
4. Order of punishment and its approval
5. Suspension of the worker pending inquiry
The industrial relation system is pre-dominantly confrontational in nature rather than cooperative in Bangladesh. It is characterized by the pre-dominant position of informal economy, fragmented unions, weak labor institutions, lack of enforcement of labor laws and conflict ridden employer-employee relations. Although in recent times the rate of unionization has increased in the RMG sector, trade union affiliation is low in Bangladesh compared to many other developing countries. The main reasons for this are the fall in employment in previously highly organized sectors, rise of the service sector and increasing flexible types of employment relationships.
The promotion of independent trade unions and collective bargaining can contribute to political and social stability and consequently create more favorable climate for foreign investment. Trade unions have an important role to play in settling disputes between workers and management over wages by way of collective bargaining. However, empirical data show that the experience is far from satisfactory. In the case of public sector enterprises collective bargaining is very limited as the government often determines the wage levels for workers in a number of sectors.
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