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Labour & Industrial laws of Bangladesh

Updated on June 8, 2011

The existing labour and industrial laws are in favour of the employers while not in favour of the workers in Bangladesh. In this country, the existing laws regarding labourers are primitive in nature. Lack of a proper execution system of the laws is the main cause in the ignorance of labour rights. Though they are existing in the provision of trade unions and collective bargaining agents (CBA) to preserve the workers interests, the trade unions and CBA do not perform their respective duties properly. Politicization of labour and industrial sectors, corruption of the trade union leaders and the role of CBA are responsible in this connection. So, the main purpose of this study is to explore the anomalies of labour laws in implementing labour rights as well as to suggest how to amend the existing laws or to enact new laws, in favour of workers.

From the very beginning of civilization the rights of labourers have beenignored and labourers have had a lack of awareness of their own rights. Labourers are deprived of all kind of rights, all over the world. This deprivation puts the labour class in an extreme position, which requires them to reinstore their rights. To to this they have begun to organize themselves. A Trade union is the outcome of such demands. Every one has the right to form and to join a trade union for the protection of their interests. [1]. The labour laws have given birth to some fundamental industrial rights to labourers in the field of production, and it has also provided protection for those rights [2]. Labour rights in Bangladesh are not justifiable under the existing labour laws and lack of proper execution system of those existing laws is the main course for not ensuring labour rights [3]. In this context Nuruzzaman, M. [4] studied the failure to achieve labour rights and clearly identified the following host factors, including workers' disunity, ideological divide between various trade unions, lack of organizational structure, control of pro-reform national political parties over their respective trade unions, the diminishing influence of leftist trade unions in labour parties and the lack of an alternative leftist political agenda in Bangladesh politics. Viadyanathan, N. [5] discussed that the member states of the International Labour Organization (ILO) after ratification of the ILO conventions, did not take necessary actions to implement the provisions of that very convention in their domestic administration. That is why labour rights were ignored at the presence of law and conventions. The chief inspector and inspectors of labour need to comply with the provisions of existing labour laws in Bangladesh so that labour rights can be wholly ensured in Bangladesh [6]. In summaries of International labour standards [7], it has been pointed out that, international labour conventions and recommendations regarding labour rights are adopted by the international labour conference, after consultation with all the ILO's member states, of which there are 148 at present.

The conference is a tripartite body composed of government, employer's and worker's delegates. When a member state ratifies a convention, it becomes subject to legally binding international obligations. The rights as we find in the labour laws relate mainly to the labourers or employees and few of them relate to the employers. These rights are of a fundamental, civil, political, economic, social or cultural nature.

A great number of research works have been conducted in the field of labour studies, but some findings are unexpected, and some touch on issues that had been given much attention previously. From the best of our knowledge, no research works similar to the present study have been conducted on those rights under the existing labour laws and the role of trade unions in Bangladesh.


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