Trade union registration is still a big problem in Bangladesh as union leaders face intimidation and opposition from the industry while the government authorities concerned make the process complex, observed a global union leader.
"Our affiliates informed that there are lots of rejections due to oppositions not only from the industry but also from the labour ministry," IndustriAll Global Union general secretary Atle Hoie said.
IndustriAll's affiliates, mostly in readymade garment sector, here in the country disagreed with the labour ministry that the registration process has been made easy, he said while talking to the FE on February 19 during his two-day visit to Dhaka.
Union leaders who apply or prepare to apply for registration are in fear of job loss as the cell concerned of the department of labour informs the factory managements, he noted.
So when they are in fear of job loss, how the process is made easy and how they could be organised, he raised question.
During his two-day visit, Mr Hoie met the IndustriAll Bangladesh Council affiliates members and discussed the issue like International Labour Organization (ILO) roadmap and its progress, minimum wage and insurance scheme.
Regarding the ILO roadmap, he claimed that the progress is slow and urged the Bangladesh government for effective implementation of the roadmap.
Mr Hoie also said the workers' representative in the minimum wage board for the country's readymade garment (RMG) industry should be from their affiliates claiming their representation is largest in the industry.
The representative should be selected from the leaders who are known to be workers and work for the interest of the workers as the sector creates employment for about 4.0 people, he noted.
Citing the affiliates, he said the minimum wage for the garment workers should be Tk23,000 taking the inflation, cost of living into consideration.
IndustriALL Bangladesh Council together with Garment Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad has already placed their demands to the authorities concerned of the government for fixing the minimum wage for an entry level garment worker at Tk23,000, he noted.
The market situation has drastically changed between 2018 and 2022 with skyrocketing inflation and it has become impossible for workers to afford a decent standard of living.
Meanwhile, RMG exports from the country increased by 14.31 per cent to US$27.418 billion during July to January period of the current fiscal year (2022-23).