The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Is trade union the solution?

Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya said allowing trade union as a solution to recurrence of disturbances in the garment/textile industries. We would like to raise some points for him to think and then make suggestions because his suggestions are highly important for the local decision-makers as well as foreign customers and donor agencies.

Though trade union is not officially allowed in garment and textile industries, most of the factory workers are affiliated with different trade unions and they are almost 20 in number. But what good those trade unions did for them remains a question.

We studied the manifestos or declarations of some trade unions and found that none of those has any specific clause on occupational health and safety or issues like fire safety which is a common problem in this industry.

All the government-owned factories and some big enterprises allow trade unions and if you go there you'll find that the health and safety condition there is worse than any RMG/textile industry. The government body which looks after the trade union matters is not well equipped in terms of human resource and don't know how to deal with occupational health hazard.

You will not find any instance where unions or rights groups of workers bargained with the entrepreneurs for ensuring healthy work environment or installing fire safety measures.

Share on


Dr Debapriya is absolutely right in saying that trade union must be allowed and once healthy atmosphere exist both parties will flourish from it due to its positive impact. But we need hybrid trade union policy in our country and may be time has come to introduce institutions which will educate people on their rights and bring out future trade union leaders who will take it as their profession in positive direction. May be we can introduce digital technology to educate workers and union office bearers equally on par. Time has also come for FBCCI, BGMEA, BKMEA and others to become a stake holder voluntarily and make a difference. This is 21st. century and we need to move.

: Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee





The Daily Star

©, 1991-2016. All Rights Reserved