Employer-employee cooperation vital for RMG Sector development

DHAKA – The need to promote dialogue and build trust between workers and employers to ensure sustainable growth of the Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector was stressed by high-level speakers at an event on workplace cooperation held in Dhaka today.

Press release | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 16 October 2014
Md. Mujibul Haque Chunnu, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Employment said, “To ensure sustainability and growth of the RMG sector it is vital that there is a congenial working environment at factory level. This is only achievable through workplace cooperation between employers and employees.”
The day-long event was organized by the Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Bangladesh (FPRW) project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) which is funded by the US Department of Labor. It brought together representatives of employers and workers organisations from the RMG sector to train them in techniques to better facilitate workplace cooperation.
“Ensuring workplace cooperation is the responsibility of both workers and employers and is especially important in view of the dramatic increase in new trade unions over the last 18 months,” said Mr. Srinivas B. Reddy, ILO Country Director Bangladesh.
The number of trade unions in the RMG has increased to 367 with 236 new unions formed since early 2013.

“The growth of unions is a positive development that will help secure better labour rights for garment workers. Yet with rights come responsibilities. It is extremely important that union representatives learn how to effectively negotiate and interact with employers. It is equally important that employers learn to view unions as an asset and work with them to create workforce harmony that will benefit staff and businesses alike,” Mr Reddy added.
A total of 30 participants from five RMG/knitwear factories with an equal number of mid-level managers and worker representatives took part in the training. This was the first event in an ongoing series of activities aimed at bringing together workers and their employers to create better industrial relations and build a constructive dialogue at shop-floor level. ILO will continue to support factories and trade union officials in this regard.
The RMG sector employs an estimated 4.2 million workers and during the latest fiscal year, generated some US$ 24.5 billion from exports.

The Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Bangladesh (FPRW) Project is an initiative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) that aims to address specific challenges faced by workers’ and employers’ organizations by building local capacity in relation to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The project also provides support to the Government of Bangladesh with legislative and policy initiatives aimed at achieving full-fledged compliance with international labour standards.

Mr. Dan W. Mozena, Ambassador of the United States of America to Bangladesh; Mr. A. K. M. Salim Osman, MP, President, BKMEA; Mr. Tapan Chowdhury, President, BEF; Mr. Md. Atiqul Islam, President, BGMEA were also present at the closing ceremony of the workshop.

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