The ILO, with guidance and support from its Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) works closely with employers’ organizations in a wide range of activities in Bangladesh as they are at the heart of any strategy to create employment and improve living standards. The Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF) is ILO’s main counterpart in this regard.
The Bangladesh Employers’ Federation is a member of the International Organization of Employers and it represents the employers at the International Labour Conference held every year in Geneva. The main objective of BEF is to provide guidance and assistance to employers in the field of industrial relations and to bring their concerted views on labour matters to the attention of the Government.
Close collaboration also takes place with sectoral business associations such as the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers Exporters Association (BKMEA), the Leathergoods & Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) and the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA).
Specific collaboration takes place with regards to enhancing occupational safety and health in the ready-made garment sector. In total, 100 staff from the BEF, BGMEA and BKMEA as well as private sector companies have been trained as ‘master OSH trainers’. They will pass on their skills to some 7,500 supervisors and managers who in turn will pass them on to some 750,000 workers.
Support is also provided to building the capacity of enterprise level owners and managers to engage effectively and in good faith in labour and industrial relations, in the use of Interest Based Negotiation (IBN) techniques and the concepts of workplace cooperation.