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The Implication of Collective Bargaining for Resolving Labor Unrest in RMG Sector: An Empirical Study on Bangladesh Perspective


Nafiza Islam

The RMG industry of Bangladesh started its modest journey in late 1970s and within three decades, it has been a flourishing sector. Contribution of the RMG sector in national economy is great. It is the highest foreign exchange earning sector. It has been able to create employment opportunities for about 3.5 million of people, most of whom are poor, uneducated and unskilled women from the rural area. Besides, it has been able to attract foreign direct investment, accelerate industrialization process, alleviate poverty to a certain extent and create a good image of Bangladesh in the world. To a certain extent, it has been able to bring about a positive change to the socio-economic condition of the country. But this sector is infested with a number of problems which are threatening the very existence of this industry. Labor unrest is one of the most serious problems. Other reasons are the   lack of following the collective bargaining rules regarding with the trade unions rights, lack of protecting the human rights of workers in the workplace, absence of following the international payment rules ensuring the flat wage scales for both men and women, not providing sufficient fringe benefits and so forth. Collective bargaining is the better solution than go for any kind of action which can be a threat for the both employers and workers as well as to the national economy. But unfortunately practice of collective bargaining is very low in this prominent sector. On the basis of this background, this paper attempts to find out the real condition as well as the potentiality of collective bargaining process in Bangladesh. This study was conducted from September to November, 2014. The data for preparing this report was collected through primary and secondary sources. The major causes of labor unrest have been explored from the responses of the respondents. These are- irregularities in payment, low wage, mistreatment of the workers by managers/ officers, rumor, absence of trade unionism, conspiracy, non-execution of labor laws, unruly nature of the workers and political intervention. This article aimed to focus on this area by enlightens the need of collective bargaining in Bangladesh based on current situation. Through this research process it was found that trade unions are there, though the number is very few, but they are not aware about the correct procedures of collective bargaining. If workers try to settle down their demands as well as complains through this process, then ultimately they will be the beneficiaries. Some recommendations are also highlighted for the betterment of the situation and how the process can be effective. Because collective bargaining is not just a means of raising wages and improving conditions of employment, it is democratic government in industry.

Keywords: Trade union, Labor movement, Labor unrest, Industrial relations and Collective bargaining.

JEL Codes: J28, J52, L67, M54