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Monday, September 8, 2008
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Trade unionism allowed on a limited scale

The government has relaxed the ban on trade-union activities at industries, commercial enterprises, ports and factories on certain conditions.

The order will come into effect immediately, a home ministry notification said yesterday.

Trade-union activities were shut down after the state of emergency was declared across the country on January 11 last year.

The gazette said labour rights bodies can carry out their activities under the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 on a limited scale at any place in the country.

Election to collective bargaining agents (CBA) is now possible on permission from police commissioners in city corporation areas and from district magistrates elsewhere.

The trade unions will have to report to metropolitan police commissioners, district magistrates and in some cases upazila nirbahi officers (UNO) 48 hours ahead of any meetings of not more than 100 people.

Permission from the officials will be required should such meetings draw over 100 people, the notification said adding that no gatherings exceeding 500 people will be permitted.

The labour unions will be allowed to convene indoor meetings at their offices or officially approved places. Outdoor meetings have been barred.

Prohibiting political discussions, the gazette said the agenda will be restricted to labour and organisational issues.

It barred radio and television stations from broadcasting such programmes live. Regular news programmes, however, will be able to cover the events.

Devices that could make the discussions audible outside the meeting venues have also been prohibited.

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