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Bangladeshi Garment Industry is the largest industrial sector of the country. Though the history of Readymade Garment Industry is not older one but Bangladeshi clothing business has a golden history. Probably it started from the Mughal age in Indian subcontinent through Dhakai Musline. It had global re utation as well as demandable market around the globe es ecially in the !uro ean market. After industrial re"olution in the west they were busy with technological ad"ancement # started outsourcing of ready made garments to meet u their daily demands. Many $D%&s took that chance # started ready made garment e' ort at that markets. As an $D% Bangladesh took this chance en(oyed )uota # other facilities of them. Thus ready made garment industry started to contribute in our economy from late eighty&s *+,--.. The history of the garment industry dates back to +,-- when the first consignment was e' orted to then /est Germany by 0ewel Garments. The number of units1 howe"er1 remained a meager 23 until the end of +,45. 6rom a humble beginning the sector has thus made henomenal growth o"er the last two decades1 the number of units growing to around 2788. The RMG industry achie"ement is noteworthy1 articularly for a country lagued with oor resource endowments and ad"erse conditions for industriali9ation. !' orts increased from a ro'imately 5: million ;< dollars in +,45=42 to +.2 billion dollars in +,,:=,5. In +,4-=441 the RMG e' ort share sur assed that of raw (ute and allied roducts. The figure further rose to 7.- billion dollars in :885=821 re resenting a contribution of about -7 ercent of the country&s total e' ort earnings in that year2. The em loyment generated by the sector is estimated to be around +.7 million workers. <e"eral factors account for the outstanding >success& of the RMG industry in Bangladesh. At the same time this industry had faced # till facing many roblems also. These roblems # ros ects of RMG industry in Bangladesh is my to ic to find out as well as to make critical analysis on these. The im ortance of my study has been raised u by recent labor unrest in RMG sector. To analy9e this board to ic a took fulltime guidance from my dissertation guide Mr. Ishtia)ue Ahmed in re aring )uestionnaire1 o erating field sur"ey1 resenting the sur"ey re ort as well as constructing the re ort as a whole. <o I am grateful to him. ?ere I use data from different sources like1 BGM!A1 B@M!A1 %PD1 /orld Bank1 ;ADP1 $md 0ournal B Published by Australian Aational ;ni"ersity1 %IA B Re ort1 ADB1 Bureau of !conomic ResearchC ;ni"ersity of Dhaka1 The ;ni"ersity of %hicago Press # many other sources stated in reference section. Thus I am obliged to all of them at the same time I would like to offer my warm thanks to all of them. Many Garments owners1 workers1 # buyers ha"e hel ed my by ro"iding their "aluable o inion on the to ic or through inter"iew. <o I am grateful to

them for hel ing me by ro"iding rimary data. Again I would like to offer my warm thanks to all of them for hel ing me a lot in construction of this dissertation re ort.

Executive Summery
The Readymade Garment Industry of Bangladesh has become the largest foreign e'change earning sector1 e' orting a arel of all sorts to the ;<A1 !uro e and other de"elo ed countries. The Readymade Garment *RMG. industry of Bangladesh tells an im ressi"e story about the leadershi of ri"ate enter rise and the country&s successful transition to a ma(or e' ortCoriented economy. The country registered its first a arel e' ort in +,-41 but the rogress since the early +,48s has been sim ly henomenal. It has by now become a colossal industry1 earning the lionDs share of the countryDs foreign e'change and ro"iding the nationDs women with the largest formal em loyment. /ith the first garment e' orting unit1 Rea9 Garments in +,-41 and along with that initiati"e1 Desh Garments1 led by the "isionary entre reneur1 Mr. Aoorul Euader1 Bangladesh ste ed into a new romised land of ros erity. The success story of the Readymade Garments sector of Bangladesh is based on em loyment generation and increasingly high "alue addition1 thus smoothening the ath for growth and de"elo ment of the country. The a arel and garment industry ro els sectors such as banking1 finance and insurance1 cargo1 shi ing and trans ort1 entertainment and hos itality1 research and education and a lot more. The mentioned erformance of the industry has been ossible due toF A. The chea but disci lined and regimented workforce has been key for the success of this industry. B. The entre reneur class has been dedicated and moti"ated to the countryDs economic ros erity. %. The )uality of the manufactured a arel1 which has been increasingly recogni9ed by our international buyers and end users all o"er the world. D. BuyersD res onse has been encouraging through re eat orders. The industry has been roducing all sorts of a arels for all seasons and has managed to get re eat orders for e"ery season. !. The im ort olicy of Bangladesh has been fle'ible and friendly for im ort of accessories. This "ital and "ibrant e' ort oriented industry has been facing some roblems from local forces1 which may be termed weaknesses *or the AationDs weakness.1 and some roblems caused by forces beyond our geogra hical= olitical boundary1 which may be termed as threats to our industry. The Readymade Garment Industry is already :8 years old but during the last two decades no lanned1 fruitful olicy to build u a backward linkage te'tile industry to feed the RMG industry has been taken by the authorities. !"en the e'isting te'tile industries are not ca able of roducing high standard fabrics to offset the foreign ones from the market. <hortage of ca ital necessary to de"elo local sources for )uality fabrics=yam is a ma(or weakness. The reason behind the shortage of ca ital1 howe"er1 can be attributed to the socioeconomic condition of the countryG enabling foreign direct in"estment could howe"er1 com ensate for this. 6urthermore although the Go"ernment has res onded to the RMG industryDs re)uests for de"aluation of the local currency B the Taka B from time to time1 it has failed to decrease the current rate of interest. At the same time1 our financial olicy measures are not sufficient to

attract entre reneurs to in"est in the te'tile industry. Anomalies in the banking sector1 roblems at the ort1 "indicti"e olitical en"ironment1 bureaucratic shackles1 electricity crisis1 and currency ad(ustment olicy ursued by the country1 and the lack of some olicy su ort from the go"ernment to sustain the countryDs falling com etiti"eness against its com etitors in the international market are other serious weaknesses.

History of Bangladeshi Ready Made Garments (RMG) Industry:

The history of the Readymade Garments <ector in Bangladesh is a fairly recent one. Aonetheless it is a rich and "aried tale. The recent struggle to reali9e /orkersD Rights adds an im ortant e isode to the story. Below1 I resent a detailed narration of the e"olution of the RMG sector from its humble origins to the resent day. The shift from a rural1 agrarian economy to an urban1 industrial economy is integral to the rocess of economic de"elo ment *@aldor1 +,331 +,3-.. Although olicymakers in the least de"elo ed countries *$D%s. ha"e1 at "arious times1 attem ted to make agriculture the rimary engine of economic growth and em loyment generation1 this a roach has not worked1 not least because of the contributions of the Green Re"olution1 which has had the dual effect of increasing agricultural roducti"ity in the $D%s and dis lacing the rural labor force at the same time. $ed by the e'am le of the !ast Asian economies1 most $D%s now acce t the need for greater industriali9ation as the fastest ath to economic growth. In articular1 countries such as 0a an1 Taiwan and <outh @orea ha"e demonstrated that an e' ortCoriented industrial strategy can not only raise er ca ital income and li"ing standards in a relati"ely short timeG it can also lay a "ital role in moderni9ing the economy and integrating it with the global economic system. The readyCmade garments *RMG. sector has a "enerable history of about :7 years. This eriod cannot sim ly be termed as HlongH as this would be the understatement of the decade. This history is one of success1 endea"or1 and the continuous struggle of the class of entre reneurs who remained focused on achie"ement and challenges. /ith the first garment e' orting unit1 Rea9 Garments in +,-41 and along with that initiati"e1 Desh Garments1 led by the creati"e thinker entre reneur1 Mr. Aoorul Euader1 Bangladesh ste ed into a new romised land of ros erity. ; on seeing the ad"ertisement for recruits1 the country wondered in awe and )uestioned Mr. EuaderDs lans of sending +:, graduates and engineers to be trained in @orea. /hy would sim le sewing o erations need high tech a licationsI Many e"en sus ected something naughty in this "enture. But after rigorous training in @orea1 these graduates returned home1 )ualified and efficient1 bringing to the land a new disci line of Hline managementH which ele"ated our tailor status to standardi9ed manufacture. ?ence1 RMG took birth in this land with the hel of financial institutions and the limited financial resources of the family of the young entre reneur who res ected in him a dream to set u an industrial unit allowing him global access and e' osure. This is how RMG e' erienced lift off1 and till date1 with the e'ce tion of a few

go"ernment olicy directions1 the sector can boast of not resorting to large ublic funding and can assert its base being in the core of urely ri"ate initiati"e.

Literature Review:

Introduction (for legal rights of Bangladeshi workers)

This study builds on the current cam aign for labour law reform being waged by the trade unions in Bangladesh. In brief1 the study seeks to flesh out the ob(ecti"e and substanti"e basis for the reform mo"ement and the needed reform measures to build a (ust labour relations system in Bangladesh in the conte't of the I$J&s Decent /ork Agenda *D/A. and the country&scommitments to the ;A&s Millenium De"elo ment Goals *MDGs.. As defined by the I$J1 decent work is work obtained in conditions of freedom1 e)uality1 security and dignityG on the other hand1 the MDGs seek to reduce o"erty by half by :8+7. The o"erall ob(ecti"e of this study then is to ro ose reform in the labour law for the romotion of decent work1 reducing o"erty and ensuring workers& rotection. Decent work and mass poverty Bangladesh has integrated the romotion of decent work as art of the Kstrategic blocksL under its KPo"erty Reduction <trategy Pa ersL *PR<P.. ; dated eriodically1 the PR<P outlines the broad socioCeconomic de"elo ment rograms being ursued by the country to meet its MDG commitments. As it is1 mass o"erty has remained the single most critical de"elo mentCretarding roblem in Bangladesh. The country has reduced o"erty by only one ercentage oint er year during the +,,8s. This has allowed a "ast and growing number of eo le to remain unem loyed and underem loyed. There are resently o"er 35 million eo le below the o"erty line1 oneCthird of whom are tra ed in e'treme o"erty. The slow ace of MDG fulfilment by Bangladesh is due artly to the ursuit of a narrow growth only economic strategy1 which has1 o"er the years1 roduced an une)ual and e"en (obCless growth attern. It has also resulted in a mismatch between sectoral growth and o"erall labour absor tion in the country *Titumir and ?ossain :887.. 6or instance1 while the contribution of the industrial sector in the GDP has (um ed from :,.-5 er cent in :884C8, to +-.5+ er cent in +,48C4+1 nearly 80 per cent of the countrys employed are still in the huge informal economy where labour standards are hardly obser"ed . Additionally1 the situation in the formal manufacturing sector is far from sanguine. Re orts of worker and human rights "iolations within and around the different factories are wides read. The re ression of these rights has in fact led to numerous factory rotests and blockades in recent years. Most of the workers in the ri"ate manufacturing sector also do not get the "arious nonC wage benefits en(oyed by their counter arts in the ublic sector such as accommodation and trans ortation facilities1 subsidi9ed meals1 maternity rotection1 medical allowances1 bonuses1 ension1 ro"ident fund and insurance benefit.

However, there is an increasing participation of women in the la our market, growing at a rate of !"#! per cent annually versus $"%& per cent for men for the period %''&(') (although the women workers account only for one*fourth +$%"$ million, of the total la our force of #-"! million)

There are other decent work deficits. Jn wages1 the a"erage worker&s com ensation is not sufficient to maintain a minimum standard of li"ing gi"en the inflation rate in the country. There are also delayed wage ayments1 long working hour1 work discrimination1 unsafe working conditions and oor work en"ironment. /orkers are mostly unorgani9ed and face many barriers in union formation. %onse)uently1 the institution of collecti"e bargaining has1 by and large1 not been effecti"e in the country. %learly1 so much has to be done Bby way of economic and labour reforms CC to meet the D/A and MDG goals in Bangladesh. In the area of labour reforms1 the re"ised Bangladesh $abour $aw of :883 *B$$.1 an amalgamation of the re"ious :7 labour laws1 has weaknesses. Aot all workers en(oy the basic rights s elled out in the law. There are also ram ant "iolations and nonCim lementation or non enforcement of the B$$. Trade unions ha"e long been "ocal about the legal shortcomings and the weak im lementation of the laws guaranteeing workers& rights. Thus1 a critical re"iew of the B$$&s im lementation and its shortcomings in terms of co"erage and enforcement is long o"erdue. Decent work indicators This study has ado ted the decent work framework in the re"iew of the labour law system of Bangladesh. As a backgrounder1 decent work has four constituent illarsF access to roducti"e em loyment and income o ortunitiesG rights at work1 articularly with res ect to the core labour standardsG systems of social rotectionG and a "oice at work through social dialogue. These are interde endent and mutually reinforcing *Bell and @risten :8+8.. In this conte't1 the obser"ance of labour rights can be measured in terms of broad and s ecific legal ro"isions or indicators su orti"e of the key or core areas of labour laws. The core areas are B *+. em loyment standards1 *:. occu ational safety and health1 *5. welfare and social rotection1 *2. labour relations and social dialogue1 and *7. enforcement. Conduct of the study This study was undertaken in close consultation and coo eration with the Research and Ad"isory Team of the Bangladesh Institute of $abour <tudies *BI$<.. !stablished in +,,71 BI$< has been su orting the work of the +5 coo erating Aational Trade ;nion 6ederations in the areas of training1 research and information sharing. BI$< es ouses (ust and workerCfriendly olicies in Bangladesh. The study ado ted a com osite of research methods1 which include case studies1 inter"iews with key informants1 focused grou discussions *6GDs.1 brainstorming sessions with the BI$<& ad"isory team and inCde th reading of the labour laws. A baseline sur"ey of the workers& a reciation of their rights under the Bangladesh labour system was also conducted among a sam le of workers in the readyC made garments industry *for the formal sector. and construction industry *for the informal sector.. Garments em loys :.2 million workers1 47 er cent of whom are womenG construction has +.75

million workers1 ,5 er cent of whom are men. Res ondents for the two industries were selected from the industrial areas of Dhaka and %hittagong.

.verview of Bangladesh la our laws

The labour law system is more than a century old in Bangladesh. The first labour law was enacted in the Indian subCcontinent during the British eriod1 in +44+. <ubse)uently1 the British Go"ernment introduced se"eral laws concerning different labour issues1 e.g.1 working hour1 em loyment of children1 maternity benefit1 trade union acti"ities1 wage1 etc. The 6actories Act *+44+.1 /orkmenDs %om ensation Act *+,:5.1 Trade ;nions Act *+,:3.1 Trade Dis utes Act *+,:,.1 Payment of /ages Act *+,53.1 Maternity Benefit Act *+,5,.1 and the !m loyment of %hildren Act *+,54. were remarkable labour laws enacted during the British eriod. In :8831 the country ado ted the re"ised Bangladesh $abour $aw of :883 or B$$. The B$$ is fairly com rehensi"e and rogressi"e. The law is a consolidation and u dating of the :7 se arate acts. The com rehensi"e nature of the law can immediately be gleaned from its co"erage CC conditions of ser"ice and em loyment1 youth em loyment1 maternity benefit1 health and hygiene1 safety1 welfare1 working hours and lea"e1 wages and ayment1 workersD com ensation for in(ury1 trade unions and industrial relations1 dis utes1 labour court1 workersD artici ation in com anies rofits1 regulation of em loyment and safety of dock workers1 ro"ident funds1 a renticeshi 1 enalty and rocedure1 administration1 ins ection1 etc. The B$$ is also considered an ad"ance because it remo"es certain ambiguities in the old and di"erse labour acts and aligns the labour law system with the I$J core con"entions. Jn the remo"al of ambiguities1 the definition of a KworkerL is now "ery s ecific. Another e'am leF the e'clusion under the term KwagesL of the following items CC e' ense for housing facilities like lighting and water su ly1 em loyers& contribution to the ro"ident fund1 tra"eling allowances and other sums aid to worker that are needed to co"er workCrelated e' enses. The B$$ is also an ad"ance because of its wider co"erage1 for e'am le1 workers and staff of hos itals1 nursing homes and e"en nonCgo"ernmental organi9ations are now co"ered by the law. Also1 certain welfare and social benefits ha"e been im ro"ed or instituted1 e.g.1 death benefit *financial su ort to family of deceased worker.1 a lication of ro"ident fund benefit to all workers in the ri"ate sector1 e' ansion of maternity benefit from +: to +3 weeks1 ado tion of grou insurance for establishments with :88 or more workers1 and increased em loyee com ensation for workCrelated in(ury1 disability and death. Jn the I$J core con"entions1 Bangladesh has ratified the following International $abour %on"entions *I$%s.F M I$% :, *6orced $abour.1 M I$% 4- *6reedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Jrgani9e.1 M I$% ,4 *Right to Jrgani9e and %ollecti"e Bargaining.1 M I$% +88 *!)ual Remuneration.1 M I$% +87 *Abolition of 6orced $abour.1 M I$% +++ *Discrimination in !m loyment and Jccu ation.1 and

M I$% +4: *!limination of the /orst 6orms of %hild $abour.. The only core con"ention not ratified by Bangladesh is I$% +54 *Minimum Age %on"ention.. ?owe"er1 the B$A ro"ides that the minimum age to work is +2 *although a s ecial clause states that children between the ages of +: and +2 may be em loyed to do Klight workL that does not endanger their health1 de"elo ment and education.. Salient features of the BLL The B$$ features the following key ro"isionsF Employment standards M An em loyee or KlabourL is defined as any erson1 including a trainee= robationer1 whether the terms and conditions of his=her em loyment are e' ressly written or not1 who is em loyed directly or through a contractor=agency1 for any skilled1 unskilled1 hysical1 technical1 business de"elo ment or clerical (ob in any establishment or industry. M /orkers are classified into si' categoriesF M A renticeF A worker who is em loyed in an establishment as a trainee and during the eriod of training he is aid an allowance is called an a rentice. M BadliF A worker who is em loyed in an establishment for the eriod of tem orary absence of a ermanent or robationer worker. M %asualF A worker em loyed on a casual basis. M Tem oraryF A tem orary worker in an establishment for work that is basically tem orary in nature and is likely to be finished within a limited eriod. M ProbationerF A worker ro"isionally em loyed in any establishment to fill u a ost of ermanent "acancy and his robationer eriod has not to be com leted. M PermanentF A worker em loyed with a "iew to fill u a ermanent ost or if he com letes satisfactorily his robation eriod in the establishment. M A ointment letters1 ID cards and ser"ice books are made mandatory. The law s ecifies what information should be included in the a ointment letter and in the ser"ice book1 and re)uires the latter to be signed by both the em loyer and the worker. M The law defines who is res onsible for ayment of wagesF em loyer=ownerG chief e'ecuti"e officer *%!J.G manager= erson assigned res onsible by the com anyG and the contractor1 in case of worker a ointed by the contractor. In case of the failure of the contractor to ay the wages to the worker1 the rinci al owner shall ay the same and subse)uently it can be ad(usted with the accounts of the contractor. M Jn (ob terminations1 the em loyer is re)uired in the case of

M Retrenchment/ to gi"e one month&s notice and the e)ui"alent 58Cday wages or gratuity for e"ery year of ser"ice if the worker is em loyed on continuous ser"ice for not less than one yearG and M DischargeF to gi"e financial benefit e)ui"alent to 58Cday wages for e"ery com leted year of ser"ice by an em loyee found to ha"e hysical or mental inca acity. ?owe"er1 the em loyer is allowed M Termination sim licitorF to terminate ser"ices of worker without e' laining any reason by gi"ing a written notice of +:8 days for ermanent workers em loyed in a monthly basis and 38 days to other workers. M MisconductF to dismiss workers without ser"ing rior notice due to worker&s con"iction for any criminal offence1 or if the worker is ro"ed guilty of misconduct1 which may be any of the followingF willful insubordination *alone or in combination with others. to any lawful or reasonable order1 theft or fraud or dishonesty1 taking or gi"ing bribes1 habitual absence without lea"e for more than +8 days1 habitual late attendance1 habitual breach of any rule or law a licable to the establishment1 riotous or disorderly beha"ior1 habitual negligence or neglect of work1 fre)uent re etition of work on which fine can be im osed1 resorting to illegal strike or to go slow or instigating others to do so1 and falsifying1 tam ering the official document of the em loyer. M Retirement age for workers em loyed in any establishment is 7- . M /ork hours are set at eight hours a day1 24 hours a week1 with a weekly rest day. M J"ertime *JT. work is ma'imum of two hours a day. JT ay is twice the hourly remuneration. M /orkers are entitled to rest and meal in a day as followsF *i. one hour inter"al for o"er si' hours work a dayG *ii. half an hour inter"al for more than fi"e hour workG and *iii. one hour inter"al once or half an hour inter"al twice for more than eight hours work a day. M /orkers are entitled to holidays1 casual lea"e1 festi"al lea"e1 annual lea"e and sick lea"e. M !"ery worker has the right to artici ate in com anyDs rofits=benefits. M Ao young worker is ermitted to work in any establishment between the hours of - .m. and - am. M Ao children *under +2 years of age. are allowed to work in any occu ation or establishment. ?owe"er1 a child who has com leted +: years of age is ermitted to do light work not harmful to his health1 de"elo ment and education.

M A>Minimum /age Board& is established to determine the minimum rates of wages in different ri"ate sectors1 taking into consideration "aried criteriaF cost of li"ing1 standard of li"ing1 cost of roduction1 roducti"ity1 rice of roducts1 business ca ability1 and economic and social conditions of the country. M !m loyers are mandated to obser"e e)ual wages for male and female workers for work of e)ual nature or "alue. M 6orced labour is rohibited. !!upational safety and health M !stablishments are re)uired to ut u for e"ery +78 workers one first aid bo' and one trained erson er first aid bo'1 and an e)ui ed dis ensary with a atientCroom1 doctor and nursing staff. M !m loyers are re)uired to take a ro riate measures to rotect workers from danger and damage due to fire. M !"ery establishment is re)uired to be ke t clean and free from efflu"ia arising out of any drain1 ri"y or other nuisance. M The work room should not be o"ercrowded and in(urious to the health of the workers. M !"ery establishment should ro"ide ure drinking water1 sufficient light and air1 and se arate toilets for its male and female workers. "elfare and so!ial prote!tion M Gratuity is defined under the law as se aration ayment1 at least 58 days1 for workers discharged from work and yet ha"e worked not less than 3 months. M 6actories are re)uired to ha"e an inChouse canteen for e"ery +88 workers. M !"ery establishment=em loyer is re)uired to form a Pro"ident 6und if threeCfourths of its workers demand it by written a lication1 and a /orkers& Partici ation 6und and a /orkers& /elfare 6und for its workers. M !stablishments with :88 or more workers should institute a grou insurance. M !"ery em loyer should ro"ide com ensation to its workers for workCrelated in(ury1 disability and death. M Narious women&s& issues are also co"eredF maternity lea"e of +3 weeks *4 weeks before and 4 weeks after child birth.1 no genderCsegregated wage structure1 rohibition of any form of discrimination against women1 rohibition of women working between +8F88 .m. and 3F88 a.m. without consent1 rohibition for women handling running or dangerous machines *unless they are sufficiently trained to o erate such machinery.1

rohibition for women working under water or underground La#our relations and so!ial dialogue M !"ery worker em loyed in any establishment has the right to form and (oin a trade union of their own choice. Trade unions ha"e the right to draw u their own constitution and rules and to elect their re resentati"es. Also1 trade unions ha"e the right to form and (oin in a federation and such unions and federations ha"e the right to affiliate with any international organi9ation and confederation of trade unions. M The trade union is allowed to ser"e as a collecti"e bargaining agent in any establishment. M In case of industrial dis utes1 the two sides can seek resolution through negotiation1 followed by conciliation and e"entually arbitration if negotiation fails. M The collecti"e bargaining agent is entitled to file a notice of strike *or lockout in the case of the em loyer. with a +7Cday coolingCoff eriod. M !m loyers can not recruit new workers during the eriod of a strike. M !m loyers are also rohibited in terminating workers in the course of trade union organi9ing in the work lace. Enfor!ement M Go"ernment shall a oint the Director of $abour and Ksuch numberL of Additional Director of $abour1 0oint Directors of $abour1 De uty Directors of $abour and Assistant Directors of $abour as necessary for monitoring work lace acti"ities. M The Go"ernment shall a oint a %hief Ins ectors and re)uisite number of De uty %hief Ins ectors1 Assistant %hief Ins ectors or Ins ectors. These officers ha"e the ower to enter1 ins ect and e'amine any work lace remises and ascertain the obser"ance of labour laws. M The Go"ernment has the ower to establish as many $abour %ourts as it considers necessary. A $abour %ourt shall consist of a chairman and two members *one re resenting em loyers and the other1 the workers..

Research findings
6rom the baseline sur"ey1 it a ears that more than half of the workers ha"e been working for not more than three years1 with o"er 28 er cent of the workers in the garments industry registering a work e' erience of less than a year. This shows the reference of em loyers for the shortCterm hiring of young workers1 articularly in the garments industry. In the construction industry1 most of the workers ha"e longer work years of 5C+8 years. ?owe"er1 the re"alence of three ty es of em loyment status CC day labourer1 contractual labourer and monthlyCbased labourer B indicates a high le"el of em loyment informality or fle'ibility in this industry. In fact1

the o"erwhelming ma(ority of the construction workers are hired through contractors or subcontractorswithout the benefit of any em loyment contracts. Thus1 both the garments and the construction industries em loy fle'ible *meaning easily re laceable. workers. In general1 the research findings show that workers in both the garment and construction industries are de ri"ed of many of their rights such as the nonCissuance of a ointment letters and identity cards1 the nonCobser"ance of J<? standards and social security ro"isions1 the limited s ace for unionism and collecti"e bargaining1 and the weak rotection ro"ided by the labour law enforcement and (udicial system. Below is a summary of key research findingsF Appointment letter A dream to most workers! Though the law has made it mandatory for em loyers to ro"ide a ointment letter to the workers1 a large number of garments workers are still de ri"ed of a ointment letter *27.5O.. Although garments em loyers often re are a ointment letters *usually two co iesF one for em loyer and another for global garments buyers.1 they do not gi"e co ies to the workers. In the construction industry1 none of the workers re orted recei"ing any a ointment letter. M "ral contract pervasive #ractice! In the absence of written contracts1 what re"ails in general is oral contract. Also1 a good number *58.:O. of workers do not get identity cards from their em loyers. M Dismissal of workers without notice! J"er oneCfourth *:3.2O. of the res ondents in the garments industry affirmed that em loyers always dismiss workers without any rior notice. The situation is more or less the same in the construction industry. M 8$hour work% "& rules hardly followed! All the garments workers said that they work more than eight hours daily. <ometimes they work +5C+2 hours a day. There are workers who e"en work e'tra fi"e hours of daily JT. About oneCthird *55.7O. of the garments workers do not know the JT rate1 with +5 er cent of the res ondent garments workers getting less than Tk.+8 for e"ery hour of JT work against the minimum Tk.+8.48 er hour JT work. 6or the construction workers1 work hours range at 4C+: hours. M Low wage awareness! More than half *7:.2O. of the res ondents do not know whether they are recei"ing wages according to their grades. A large number *about 28 O. of res ondents in the garments industry also do not know whether the minimum wage is im lemented at their work laces. More than half *72.-O. of the garments workers and almost all *,4.+O. of the construction workers do not recei"e ay sli or any other document concerning the ayment of wages and benefits. M 'issing workers participation in company(s )enefit! Garments workers are not aware about any ro"ision regarding workers& artici ation in com any&s benefit. M *eekly rest day and leaves not o)served! Many garments workers do not ha"e the chance to en(oy weekly rest day. Most workers get festi"al lea"e but em loyers often im ose conditions to en(oy the lea"e. $egal ro"isions on casual lea"e1 sick lea"e and annual lea"e are widely "iolated. <ometimes some em loyers make wage=salary deductions for the workers to en(oy weekly rest day1 casual lea"e1 sick lea"e and festi"al

lea"e. In the construction industry1 most workers do not ha"e the chance to en(oy these lea"es as the com ensation olicy is sim ly >no work1 no ay&. M +est periods irregular! Jnly +5.: er cent of the garments workers ha"e admitted that they en(oy regular rest eriods1 meaning the ma(ority en(oy this right in a highly irregular manner. In the construction sector1 2,.7 er cent res ondents re orted that this right is limited in ractice.

M Child la)our still a reality! Both the garments and construction industries still em loy child workers *below +2 years of age.1 er obser"ation by ,., er cent of worker res ondents in the garments industry and +5.+ er cent in construction. Three res ondents ha en to be below +2. The em loyment of child workers in both the garments and construction industries is go"erned by oral contract. The nature of work gi"en to these child workers are the same as those gi"en to adult workers. M *omen discriminated in ,o) placement% increment and promotion! 6emale garments workers are not discriminated with regard to wages. But they face discrimination in (ob lacement1 increment and romotion. In the construction industry1 females are discriminated in wages1 benefits and other areas. M -igh occupational risks% low risk information% limited risk prevention! /orkers in both industries face numerous occu ational risks and accidents. The most common risks in garments are the K ricking of finger by needleL followed by KcutsL in hand. In construction1 the most common risk is Kfalling down from high lace.L And yet1 em loyers usually do not ro"ide information on these occu ational risks1 as e' lained by 25 er cent of worker res ondents in the garments industry and 37 er cent in construction. Ma(ority *3+.4 O in garments and -:.+ O in construction. of res ondents said that authorities ha"e not taken any measure to re"ent further accidents at their work laces. In garments1 while some measures are taken1 these are not sufficient and often done before the global buyers& resence.

M Safety facilities inade.uate in garments and a)sent in construction! In garments factories1 fire e'tinguishers and emergency stairs are resent but are generally inade)uate com ared to the number of workers. <ome factories do not e"en ha"e these facilities1 with emergency stairs e"en ke t under lock and key by some em loyers. <afety e)ui ments and tools are also not always ro"ided to the workers. A large number *23O. of res ondent do not know whether they are ro"ided safety tools. Many workers also do not get any risk reduction training. Jnly :.4 er cent of the construction workers get safety tools from the em loyer. M /nfriendly work place environment! /hile ma(ority of the res ondents said that the conditions of "entilation1 lighting1 tem erature and humidity are good in their work lace1 about oneCfourth said that this is not so. In the construction sector1 most of the res ondents claimed that the facilities to contain dirt1 heat1 "entilation1 dust1 noise1

smoke1 humidity and so on are bad or nonCe'istent. 6urther1 in most cases1 there is no safe drinking water. M "ccupational illness% The ro ortions of workers who said that they ha"e suffered occu ational illness are +4.2 er cent in garments and :, er cent in construction. M -arassments at the workplace! About 28 er cent of the garments workers and 58 er cent of the construction workers said that they endure mental harassment *due to "erbal abuse and the likes.. More worrisome1 more than oneCfifth *:+.- O. in the garments

industry and a few *4.2 ercent. in the construction mentioned that they ha"e e' erienced or faced hysical harassment and torture. A few res ondents *+., O in garments and 8., O in construction sectors. also admitted that they were harassed se'ually at their work laces. All these answers were affirmed by the 6DG artici ants. M *elfare facilities availa)le in law only! The B$$ enumerates "arious welfare facilities like first aid kit1 canteen1 restroom1 day care=children&s room1 medical care1 se arate lace=room for lunch at the work laces of the workers. ?owe"er1 a large number of the res ondents said that they are not ro"ided with many of these facilities. In the construction sector1 "ery few *, O. said that they ha"e firstCaid kitsG most said that the other facilities are generally absent. M 0iolations of maternity and social welfare programs! Ao factory ro"ides maternity lea"e for four months and most factories gi"e maternity lea"e only without ay. Partici ants also re ort that female workers many times do not want to bear child because of fear of losing the (ob. Nery few garments factories ha"e introduced ro"ident fund and gratuity for the workers. Grou insurance is also not effecti"e in most of the garments factories. In construction sector1 workers are com letely de ri"ed of all these rograms. M 1arment and construction generally unorgani2ed! Most of the workers in the garments and construction industries are not organi9ed. Almost all of the res ondents mentioned that there is no workers& association in their factory or at the work lace. A few re orted on the e'istence of workers& association that are not trade union in nature. M Barriers to &/ formation fear of losing 3o)% long hours of work! Garments and construction workers do not (oin trade unions1 as they do not want to lose their (obs. /orkers in both sectors disclosed that their em loyers would dismiss them from (ob if they are found engaged in any sort of acti"ities related to workers& association. There are cases where em loyers send workers sus ected of union organi9ing to olice custody. Also1 since workers of these two industries log long hours of work e"ery day1 they hardly ha"e time for trade union acti"ities.

M Collective )argaining limited and informal in nature! Predictably1 only :.4 er cent of worker res ondents in the garments industry and 8., er cent in the construction admitted that they ha"e knowledge or been in"ol"ed in collecti"e bargaining with their em loyers. Moreo"er1 bargaining is of the limited informal ty e1 with garments workers bargaining with the em loyers through informal mediators and construction workers with indi"idual contractors. M +ight to strike widely unrecogni2ed! Jnly -.7 er cent of the garments workers and cent workers in the construction said that strikes were conducted at their work laces. /orkers in both industries ercei"e that the right to strike is ne"er recogni9ed at their work laces1 with some em loyers e"en unishing workers who go on or artici ate in strikes. A significant number of workers e"en do not know whether they ha"e this right.

M 4nspection 5fire )rigade6 approach! Most workers said that they ne"er met any go"ernment officials coming and ins ecting their work laces. Those who ha"e "isited their work laces talked only to the em loyers. Also1 ins ections take lace only after some accidents ha"e occurred1 like the fire brigade taking action after the fire. M Access to ,udiciary low awareness! Nery few workers get the o ortunity to take legal measures concerning conflicts with em loyers. They usually inform the olice about such issue and a few take action through the workers association. A large numbers of workers *34.2 O in garments and32.7 O in construction. do not know whether they can take legal measures against their em loyers.

012S and 3E145ESSES in the B66

6rom the foregoing research findings1 it is clear that there are wides read "iolations of labour rights and labour laws in Bangladesh. %an these "iolations be cured by stricter enforcementI The answer is yes. But this is not enough because the B$$ itself has some weaknesses. Below is a discussion of ma(or ga s and weaknesses in the B$$ identified by research team. 7mployment standards The B$$ fails to include a large number of workers CC domestic workers1 agriculture workers1 and workers working at schools. The law has classified workers into se"eral categories. This has gi"en some em loyers fle'ibility to resort to the hiring of nonCregular workers *i.e.1 a rentice1 casual1 #adli$ robationer1 tem orary. to esca e ayment of "arious workers benefits and a"oid unionism. /orker dismissal is terribly easy under the ro"ision on termination simpli!itor1 where the em loyer is not re)uired to gi"e any reason to terminate a worker and the worker is not gi"en

any chance for selfCdefense. Also1 the notice eriod for the tem orary workers in this regard is )uite short. Getting financial benefit due to termination are )uite lengthy too. 6or retrenchment and discharge1 a worker must show roof of a minimum oneCyear ser"ice. /orkers who resign from their (obs are entitled to certain se aration benefits. ?owe"er1 getting these benefits is bureaucratic. The concerned worker is also asked to gi"e the em loyer ad"ance notice 38 days1 58 days and +2 days *corres onding to em loyment status of ermanent1 tem orary PmonthlyQ.. In cases of serious misconduct1 the law allows summary termination without rior notice. This de ri"es the worker not only com ensation but also and more im ortantly1 the right to due rocess or the right to be heard. The B$$ rohibits em loyers to em loy women workers for the eriod between +8 .m. to 3 a.m.1 and yet1 rela'es this rule by allowing the same women workers to work if the latter gi"e their consent. In the determination of minimum wage1 the family si9e criterion has not been considered. Aor is the need to balance efficiency and e)uity. 6urther1 the mandatory wage re"iew of e"ery fi"e years is too long gi"en the ra id changes in the economy and rising workers& needs. The law still lacks clarity as to what items can be deducted from the basic wage1 what can not be deducted and what are the sources *and basis. of any wage deductions. The calculation of JT ay is not s elled out for ieceCrated workers. In the first lace1 the law does not ro"ide s ecific guidelines on the fi'ing of basic wages for the ieceCrated workers. The B$$ recogni9es "arious ty es of lea"es1 e.g. weekly holiday1 casual lea"e1 festi"al lea"e1 medical lea"e1 annual lea"e1 and maternity lea"e. ?owe"er1 the law is discriminatory in the sense that the le"el of lea"e entitlement is not same for all categories of workers1 for e'am le1 some workers like teaCstate workers do not en(oy casual lea"e. Although the current law e'tended the maternity lea"e1 this is not en(oyed by the many who are under shortCterm hiring arrangements1 es ecially since the law states that a si'Cmonth em loyment is needed to get maternity lea"e. 6orced labour is rohibited and yet there are no enal sanctions against this. Jn child labour1 the rohibition is contradicted by the ro"ision which allows the em loyment of children who are +: years old in works that are su osedly not detrimental to their health and education. The law lacks s ecific ro"isions on discrimination related to work lace facilities1 treatment of nonCwage issues *e.g.1 romotion and lacement.1 and other grounds of discrimination such as race1 religion1 ethnic grou 1 etc.. "ccupational Safety and -ealth The law has no clear ro"isions on the followingF

*i. s ecific weight limit *for load carried by workers in any factory. according to age1 condition and se'G *ii. ratio of alternati"e stair as recaution in case of fire and other a aratus against the number of workersG and *iii. workersCtoilet ratio. *elfare and Social #rotection

The establishment of ro"ident fund is not mandatory. It is de endent on the demand of a rere)uisite number of workers. Grou insurance is also de endent on the number of the workers and the rere)uisite number is )uite high. The amount of com ensation gi"en to workers due to workCrelated in(ury1 disability and death is not ade)uate for the worker and his=her family. The ro"ision of com ensation is also discriminatory in terms of age of the workers1 with an adult worker getting Tk. +1:71888 for com lete ermanent im airment whereas a child=adolescent=young worker gets Tk.+81888 only. Jther as ects of social rotection ha"e remained untouched in the labour law of Bangladesh such as ro"isions on ension and medical and life insurance for the workers. La)our +elations and Social Dialogue A new ro"ision in the law has banned T; offices within the :88 yards of an industry. This limits1 hysically1 the sco e for trade union acti"ities. The law allows the functioning of three registered trade unions in an establishment or a grou of establishments1 and yet an amendment states that workers of %hittagong and Mongla <ea Port are allowed to form only one trade union at their res ecti"e work laces. Thus1 the law is discriminatory as well as selfCcontradictory. The law sets a "ery stiff re)uirement in trade union formation CC su ort of 58 er cent of the workers in an establishment. 6or new unions1 this is "irtually a trade union ban. The law has also im osed a ban on strikes in some industries1 in articular a 5Cyear ban on strikes in newlyCestablished industries and industries established for or su orted by foreigners. This collides headCon with I$%s -4 and ,4 and 6reedom of Association and %ollecti"e Bargaining. . There is a 58Cday limitation to file a eal before the $abour %ourt when the Director of $abour re(ects any a lication to register a trade union. This is relati"ely short for unions with limited resources and whose members work long hours daily. There is also time limit in a ealing before the $abour A ellate Tribunal. According to the law1 an aggrie"ed erson can a eal the "erdict of the labour court on layCoff1 retrenchment1 discharge and dismissal within 58 days The law is not clear on the right of labour leaders and the workers themsel"es to re resent union members and themsel"es in the labour courts. The rules of the court are also technical and tend to fa"our the financially ca able em loyers. There are no clear rules on how grie"ances can be raised at the lant le"el. As to dis utes ele"ated outside the lant1 the rocess of dis ute settlement is com le'1 timeconsuming and e' ensi"e for the workers and the unions. There are many stages in the rocess and each takes a long time. The B$$ has no e' ress ro"isions on the rinci le of Kdue rocessL1 which should be obser"ed by em loyers in disci linary1 sus ension and termination cases. Due rocess means workers should be gi"en am le o ortunity to be informed or notified about the basis of the s ecific cases against them1 and to defend themsel"es through a rocedure that is fair and ob(ecti"e. The system of tri artism1 tri artite consultations and formation of tri artite bodies re)uires clearer rules. 6or e'am le1 the B$$ is silent on the tenure of the tri artite members of the /age Board and the manner and criteria guiding the selection of the worker& and em loyers& re resentati"es in the /age Board. 7nforcement

Punishment for labour law "iolations is not s elled out under the B$$. In some cases1 the law is sim ly silent like in the case of forced labour rohibition. In other cases1 the enalty is insufficient or meager1 for e'am le Tk. 7888 as fine for "iolation of ro"isions on maternity lea"e1 em loyment of child and adolescent workers1 and minimum wage. <till in other cases1 the a lication of enalty defies logic1 for e'am le1 im risonment u to one year for the "iolation of minimum wage ro"ision but not in the "iolation of the laws on maternity and em loyment of child and adolescent workers. In addition1 there is a recent amendment weakening the enalties for erring em loyers B ayment of only Tk. 7888 as fine for the re"ious unishment of >im risonment u to three months1 or fine u to Tk. +8881 or both&. As discussed in the research findings1 there are also numerous roblems related to the system of labour ins ection.

As to access to the (udiciary1 the labour law has a general ro"ision guaranteeing workers& access to the (udiciary for redress of grie"ances but is not clear on how such access can be reali9ed1 ste by ste 1 at minimum or affordable cost to the workers and their unions.

61B.78 8E9.8:S for ;E<E5= 3.84 and I5;7S=8I16 ;E:.<81<>

The %onstitution of Bangladesh1 in Article +21 statesF 54t should )e a fundamental responsi)ility of the State to emancipate the toiling masses 8 the peasants and workers $ and )ackward section of the people from all forms of e9ploitation6! The reality is that so much ha"e to be done to make the abo"e constitutional "ision of worker emanci ation from all forms of e' loitation a reality. !conomic reforms are ob"iously needed to ut Bangladesh on the ath of balanced1 (obCfull and inclusi"e growth rocess. Political reforms are also needed to insure that growth is sustained in the framework of a stable democracy. ?owe"er1 in the area of labour laws and labour relations1 the foregoing research findings and analysis of the Bangladesh labour law system show that urgent labour law reforms are needed. These reforms should be ursued in the conte't of the D/A1 MDG and the %onstitutional mandate for workers rotection against all forms of e' loitation. In this connection1 the research team is ro osing the M u dating of legal ro"isions in em loyment standards1 health and safety and social welfare and social rotection1 M strengthening of legal ro"isions on trade unionism and collecti"e bargaining1 and enforcement of labour rights. In articular1 the following key reforms are neededF M Align the BLL with international norms% particularly 4LC 8: and 4LC ;8! As a signatory to many of international con"entions and co"enants related to worker rights1 Bangladesh should align the B$$ with internationally recogni9ed workers& rights1 articularly those relating to the core I$J con"entions. More s ecifically1 M The B$$ should co"er all workers without e'ce tion. These include the domestic workers1 agricultural workers1 school workers and informal workers.

M The right to form unions1 es ecially in the garments industry1 should be gi"en widest s ace in terms of legal ro"isions. <ome doablesF o Remo"al of the 58 er cent re)uirement for trade union registration o Amendment of the R re)uirement for a strike to be declared to a sim ly ma(ority o Remo"al of any strike ban in any industry

o Remo"al of any rules on where to locate trade union offices and all artificial barriers to union formation. o /orkers should should be gi"en the full freedom to choose their re resentati"es and form unions without fear of dismissal or harrassment. o !nactment of laws against unfair labour ractices committed by em loyers1 e.g.1 dismissal of trade union officers and members1 inter"ention in internal trade union affairs and so on. M The right to negotiate and conclude collecti"e bargaining should be e' ressly recogni9ed in the law. <ome doablesF o Mandatory ro"ision on goodCfaith bargaining by both sides once a union is duly registered and recogni9ed as the most re resentati"e o Pro"isions on how both sides can bargain in the s irit of mutual res ect within certain time lines M #romote coherence in the BLL in the conte9t of D*A% 'D1 and Constitutional mandate on protection for all workers against all forms of e9ploitation! Among others1 this entails B M <trict regulations on the use of shortCterm workers1 e.g.1 a rentices *should be for real learning ur oses and not for em loyment at below minimum wages.1 casuals1 #adly1 tem orary1 robationers and so on. M Purging the B$$ of contradictory ro"isions1 e.g.1 on en(oyment by workers of weekly rest day1 em loyment of child labour1 and the number of trade unions to be recogni9ed at the work lace as discussed earlier. M !limination of discrimination at the work lace by co"ering nonCwage and other issues such as race1 religion1 ethnic grou 1 age grou etc. M Remo"al of obstacles to workers& entitlements to certain benefits1 e.g.1 in filing claims for se aration benefits on resignation1 com ensation for workCrelated in(ury or accidents1 etc. M Timelines for the rocessing of workers& claims should be sub(ect to the test of fairness and e)uity. M A lication of the rinci le of uni"ersality in the de"elo ment and a lication of "arious social welfare and social rotection schemes such as ro"ident fund1 grou insurance and so on. M Strengthen enforcement and administration of la)our ,ustice! There are ma(or concerns

that should be addressed under this theme such as CC M Remo"al of termination simpli!itor and its re lacement with the ro"iso that serious misconduct can be a ground for worker dismissal only after the worker is gi"en due rocess or the right to be informed1 the right to be heard and the right to sort out the truth through an ob(ecti"e and fair rocess. M The due rocess rinci le should be enshrined and should a ly to all cases of sus ension and termination. M A schedule of rogressi"e *from light to hea"y. enalties for erring em loyers for "arious labour standard or labour right "iolations should be enacted and enforced strictly. M The system of labour ins ection should be u graded and should in"ol"e the unions in the de"elo ment of ins ection standards and norms. M The B$$ should be urged of ro"isions weakening workers& e'ercise of their rights such as work during festi"als or doing e'cessi"e o"ertime if they ha"e the soCcalled Kworkers& consentL1 or allowing +:Cyear olds to work if they ha"e consent and so on. M ;nclear ro"isions such as estimation of JT rate for ieceCrated workers should be s elled out under the law. M The maternity law should be re"iewed and should not be used as an e'cuse for hiring only single or unmarried women on shortCterm basis. M The /age Board and other tri artite bodies should be reconstituted on the basis of clear criteria in the selection of tri artite re resentati"es1 clear mandate on their owers and functions and their tenure. M /orkers and union re resentati"es should be recogni9ed in the labour courts1 which should conduct their roceedings or hearings in a nonCtechnical manner. M The Ministry of $abour should s ell out how organi9ed and unorgani9ed workers can seek redress for "arious grie"ances in "arious forums B in the work lace1 at the labour ministry or at the labour court.

Bangladesh eats India?s 8:0 sector

Bangladesh has overtaken India in readymade garment exports despite the recent set acks it received like instances of uilding collapses and fire at manufacturing units, says a study y Exim Bank, reported =imes of India" Between @anuary and .cto er %'$&, readymade shipments y Indian exporters to the 7S grew )"& per cent to A&"% illion, while the same y Bangladesh Bumped $$"# per cent at A#"- illion, the premier export finance agency said" CIn the a sence of latest data, imports y the 7S are a very good enchmark of understanding the latest trends" Bangladesh has een aggressively pushing the garment exports and has made a slew of policy changes to facilitate those,D Exim Bank <hief 0eneral :anager 2rahalathan Iyer told 2=I" BangladeshEs garment exports increased from A)"F illion in %''! to A$-"- illion in %'$%, recording a compounded annual growth rate (<108) of $)") per cent"

;uring the same period, IndiaEs outward shipments rose from AF"G illion to A$&"F illion, a <108 of Bust )"F per cent" Iyer and his colleagues conducted a study, which revealed that Bangladesh offers sops like uninterrupted power and a priority at the <hittagong port for shipment" C=hey have to take it very seriously as the garment exports contri ute F' per cent of BangladeshEs total export earnings,D he said" 1sked if recent events like a spate of fires and collapse of garment factories, which led to some anxiety over safety norms at these units among the 3estern retailers sourcing goods from the countryEs eastern neigh our, is favoura le for India, Iyer replied in the negative" He said, in .cto er %'$&, ecause of these incidents, there was a slowdown in Bangladeshi garment exports, which grew only & per cent" But initial trends point out to a ro ust growth of over #$ per cent in 5ovem er, suggesting a healthy ounce ack y the key sector" Iyer said many of the sourcing companies have South 1sia offices situated in India, ut they source garments from either Bangladesh or Sri 6anka"

Some more info 8:0 sector/ navigating the challenging times ahead
Bangladesh&s e' ort erformance in the first )uarter of fiscal :8+2 has been )uite robust S e' ort earnings were :+.: ercent higher than the corres onding eriod of fiscal :8+5. !'ce ting the negati"e growth in the %anadian market *C+.2 ercent.1 e' ort was high in all ma(or markets *!; :ercent1 ;<A +7.- ercent.. !' orts record in )uarter + would im ly that a growth of +8.5 ercent will be re)uired o"er the ne't nine months to reach the target of +:., ercent lanned for the whole of fiscal :8+2. In regards to RMG e' orts1 erformance in E+ of fiscal :8+2 was e)ually im ressi"e. Growth of RMG was :2.: ercent1 with knitwear recording a rise of :2.2 ercent and wo"en wear :5., ercent o"er the corres onding eriod of fiscal :8+5. RMG e' orts will need to register a growth of 4.3 ercent o"er the ne't three )uarters from the same time last year if the o"erall RMG growth target of +:.: ercent for fiscal :8+2 is to be achie"ed. This a ears to be an attainable target in "iew of current trends and emerging market signals. ?owe"er1 a number of factors will make the (ourney o"er the u coming months a articularly challenging one to na"igate. 6irstly1 the high RMG growth in the first )uarter was based on a relati"ely low growth of 5.4 ercent osted in the first )uarter of fiscal :8+5. There was1 thus1 a fa"ourable baseCline effect. In JctoberC 0une of fiscal :8+51 RMG growth was +7.- ercent. This would im ly that growth o"er the ne't three )uarters will ha"e to be attained on the relati"ely more robust erformance record and higher base line of the receding year. <econdly1 o"er the ne't few months1 the orders laced in the ostCRana Pla9a tragedy eriod will

start to be reflected in the e' ort figures. As of now1 market intelligence is not transmitting any dis)uieting signals. ?owe"er1 much will de end on Bangladesh&s ability to undertake the needed homework and im lement the "arious action lans that ha"e been ut in lace in "iew of the Rana Pla9a incident. These include "arious acti"ities en"isaged as art of tri artite agreement1 I$J /ork Plan and measures to be taken under the ur"iew of >Accord& and the >Alliance&. In matters concerning work lace safety of workers and em loyees in the RMG sector1 9eroCtolerance should be the o"erriding moti"ation. Any failure in this regard will also ut the RMG sector at a disad"antage in addressing the generalised system of references *;<CG<P re"iew in December :8+51 !;CG<P re"iew in 0anuary1 :8+2.1 assuaging the concerns of consumer grou s in de"elo ed country markets and1 most im ortantly1 in dealing with the ma(or buying houses. There should be full commitment in this regard on the art of all in"ol"ed stakeholders. This is critical to safeguarding the medium to long term interests of the sector. Thirdly1 in s ite of Bangladesh&s good erformance in both the !; and the ;< markets1 Nietnam has been out erforming Bangladesh in the ;< market and %ambodia in the !; market. In recent years1 market share of all these three countries ha"e gone u at the cost of %hina whose e' orts and market share ha"e continued to decline1 articularly in the ;< market. In the foreseeable future1 the ad"antage and attention that Bangladesh has en(oyed thanks to the %hina lus one olicy ursued by ma(or buyers is likely to face increasing com etiti"e ressure from Nietnam1 %ambodia and also India1 among others. Bangladesh will need to kee com etitors on the radar screen and calibrate olicies and initiati"es accordingly. 6ourthly1 Bangladesh&s RMG e' ort erformance recei"ed a ositi"e (olt in the !; market in recent times1 thanks to changes in the rules of origin for wo"enCRMG roducts under the !;CG<P scheme. The initial ad"antages resulting in higher e' orts1 which arose from Bangladesh&s ca acity to access the references1 is likely to ta er off o"er the medium term. Bangladesh will need to be cautious about this ros ect. 6ifth1 a shar de reciation of the currencies of some of Bangladesh&s com etitors1 articularly India1 has ut Bangladesh to some disad"antage. A market analysis at disaggregated le"el shows that1 for e'am le1 in the !; market1 out of Bangladesh&s ten to most *si' digitCle"el. knitwear items eight items figure among India&s to ten items *for wo"enwear the number is si'.. Although no ad"erse im act of the relati"e a reciation of the taka has been "isible in ma(or e' ort markets till now1 it will be rudent to kee a shar eye on the dynamics of the relati"e market shares o"er the coming months and take correcti"e measures if needed. <i'th1 enter riseCle"el roduction costs in the RMG sector will go u in "iew of the in"estment needed to address com lianceCrelated concerns and also conse)uent to the e' ected rise in the minimum wage for the a arels workers. Bangladesh&s continued com etiti"eness will de end on the ability of the entre reneurs to remain com etiti"e1 go for higher roducti"ity and more "alue addition1 mo"e u market and the ability to ass on a art of the higher cost on to the buyers. Jn all these counts1 there will be formidable challenges1 which will need to be addressed. <e"enth1 in "iew of recent market dynamics and the likely changes in the strategy ursued by ma(or buyers1 the re"ailing subCcontracting system is likely to be eased out.

The RMG sector will undergo im ortant structural changes. This may not necessarily ha"e a negati"e im act on o"erall e' ort erformance1 but from the medium term ers ecti"e1 the longstanding roduction ractices based on subCcontracting model will no longer remain the redominant mode. %areful lanning will be re)uired so that the RMG sector is able to ad(ust to the changes that will occur both in roduction and marketing of a arels. This will call for concerted efforts both at the enter rise and olicy le"el. !ighth1 the Rana Pla9a incident has e' osed serious contradictions that are emerging between the roducti"e forces and the roduction relations in the sector. !nsuring workers& welfare by gi"ing li"ing wages1 ro"iding better work lace safety1 allowing workers to ursue collecti"e bargaining ought to recei"e riority and urgent attention on the art of entre reneurs1 go"ernment institutions and other stakeholders. !ntre reneurs will need to look at the issues from the ers ecti"e of enlightened selfCinterest. The go"ernment must be mindful of its res onsibility as regards im lementation and enforcement of ro"isions sti ulated its own laws and regulations1 and the I$J con"entions to which Bangladesh is a signatory. A coalition of the willing must recognise these as key com onents of a winning strategy for the future of Bangladesh&s a arels sector. Bangladesh at resent is delicately oised in "iew of the antici ated challenges and the emerging ossibilities in a fast changing global a arels market. $et us sei9e the o ortunities by doing the needed homework and by being ade)uately e)ui ed and ready.

1 case / 8ana plaHa =he International 6a our .rganiHation response to the 8ana 2laHa tragedy and how I6. responded on this (link http/IIwww"ilo"orgIglo alIa out*the* iloIactivitiesIallI3<:SJ%#'&#&Ilang** enIindex"htm )

How has the I6. respondedK

The I$J res onded )uickly to the tragedy on A ril :2 :8+5 with a high level mission to Dhaka at the start of May1 which agreed immediate and medium term actions with the Go"ernment of Bangladesh and em loyers& and workers& organi9ations. These formed the basis of a 5ational =ripartite 2lan of 1ction on fire safety and structural integrity *ATPA.1 which integrates measures already underway as art of an earlier ATPA following the Ta9reen factory fire in :8+:. The I$J has since launched a ;<T:2.: million1 three*and*a*half year programme to su ort im lementation of the ATPA and im ro"e working conditions in the readyCmade garment *RMG. sector. @ey elements are already being im lemented1 including building and fire safety assessmentsG labour ins ectionsG and occu ational safety and health1 rehabilitation and skills training.

Is the I6. inspecting factoriesK

Ao. The Bangladesh ;ni"ersity of !ngineering and Technology *B;!T. is res onsible for ins ecting factory buildings both for structural integrity and fire and electrical safety. The I$J hel s to coordinate ins ections and has ro"ided technical su ort1 including training and e)ui ment. A first batch of s eciali9ed e)ui ment has been ro"ided to B;!T by the I$J1 with further e)ui ment currently under rocurement. B;!T undertakes ins ections of factories that are not co"ered by ins ection rogrammes under the 1ccord for Building and 9ire Safety in Bangladesh and the 1lliance for Bangladesh 3orker Safety. By early A ril :8+2 a ro'imately :88 factories had been ins ected by B;!T1 with ins ection of the remaining factories due to be com leted by the end of the year. All ins ections are carried out using a uniform set of minimum ins ection standards.

How does the I6. work with the 1ccord and the 1llianceK
The I$J ser"es as the neutral chair of the Accord1 which brings together more than +78 international brands and retailers who ha"e su liers in Bangladesh1 and two global unions *IndustriA$$1 ;AI Global.. In total the Accord co"ers +135, of the 512,4 Bangladesh factories making garments for e' ort. The Alliance is a grou of :3 Aorth American retailers and brands. It co"ers a further estimated --8 factories.

How are these and other initiatives coordinatedK

The Go"ernment of Bangladesh *GoB. asked that the I$J to work with the Aational Tri artite %ommittee *GoB and workers& and em loyers& organi9ations.1 the Accord and Alliance to hel ensure coordination. More broadly the I$J is art of the K5U7U+L grou . This brings together three Bangladesh <ecretaries *$abour1 %ommerce and 6oreign Affairs.G fi"e Ambassadors *;<1 !;1 Aetherlands1 %anada and a 7th !; member state CC filled on rotation.1 and the I$J to follow rogress made in commitments made under the Aational Tri artite Plan of Action and the !; %om act *see below..

3hat a out compensation for victims and their familiesK

The Go"ernment of Bangladesh1 BGM!A1 trade unions1 AGJs and garment brands ha"e formed the 8ana 2laHa <oordination <ommittee *%%.. The ur ose is to ensure ayments to the "ictims1 their families and de endents for losses and needs arising from the accident. It is formali9ed in an agreement known as K the 1rrangement.L

How does the 1rrangement workK

The Arrangement has established a claims process based on I$J standards on em loyment in(ury. Payments are funded by "arious sources and notably through the 8ana 2laHa ;onors =rust 9und1 which is o en to contributions from any organi9ation1 com any or indi"idual wishing to su ort the deli"ery of financial and medical su ort to the Rana Pla9a families.

3hat is the I6.?s roleK

The I$J is the neutral chair of the %oordination %ommittee *%%. and ro"ides technical e' ertise and ad"ice on I$J labour standards to its members.

3hat a out 2rimark, haven?t they decided to provide compensation directlyK

Primark e' ressed reference to directly take care of the cases relating to the 748 workers of its local su Bottoms in a wellCcoordinated manner with the %%. Primark has also contributed to the common 6und. lier Aew /a"e

3hat kind of support is eing provided to inBured survivorsK

Rehabilitation rogrammes are under way1 including for the a ro'imately 778 sur"i"ors considered ermanently or tem orarily disabled. <kills de"elo ment and reCem loyment su ort has been ro"ided to an initial 78 in(ured sur"i"ors in collaboration with BRA%1 a rominent local nonCgo"ernmental organi9ation. A further :78 sur"i"ors are recei"ing similar su ort in collaboration with Action Aid1 an international nonCgo"ernmental organi9ation.

3hat is the I6. doing to promote improved workers? rights and working conditionsK
The I$J has been working for some time with the Go"ernment of Bangladesh on im ro"ing working conditions through its 6undamental Princi le and Rights at /ork *6PR/. ro(ect and establishing a Better 3ork programme in artnershi with the International 6inance %or oration. In 0uly :8+5 the I$J1 the !; and the Bangladesh go"ernment ado ted a new com act on garment factory safety designed to hel im ro"e health and safety1 labour rights and res onsible business conduct in Bangladesh&s readyCmade garment industry. The I$J is working with the Bangladesh Go"ernment1 em loyers and workers to strengthen dialogue between them. It also continues to su ort the Go"ernment in im ro"ing labour legislation CC work that has already led to some labour law reforms.

3hat results have there een so farK

Amendments were made to the Bangladesh $abour Act in 0uly :8+51 including ro"isions on work lace rights1 safety and health. <ignificant changes can be seen from that time1 articularly on new trade union registrations1 with +:- new unions registered from beginning :8+5 to date B com ared to only two unions registered in the receding three years. The I$J also ad"ises the Go"ernment&s Minimum /ages Board. Its recommendations ha"e already led to a substantial rise in the minimum wage in the garment sector.

3hat a out la our inspectionsK

The I$J has been working with the Go"ernment of Bangladesh to im ro"e labour ins ection ca acity in the country. <o far &-% new la our inspector positions ha"e been established1 u grading the country&s Directorate of $abour Ins ections to a fullyC fledged de artment and increasing the number of ins ectors from +45 to 7-7. The I$J has also de"elo ed a com rehensi"e training lan for labour ins ectors.

3hat are the challenges ahead for the responseK

1ction is needed in three priority areas" =he target for the 8ana 2laHa =rust 9und needs to e reached and compensation provided to claimants" =he amendments made to the Bangladesh la our law should e put into effect and made a reality in all workplaces" 1nd structural and fire safety inspections must continue apace and remedial measures implemented as deemed necessary"

@ournals http/IIwww"nytimes"comI%'$&I'GI$GIworldIasi aIunder*pressure* angladesh*adopts*new* la or*law"htmlKJrL'

;nder Pressure1 Bangladesh Ado ts Aew $abor $aw

6acing intense international ressure to im ro"e conditions for garment workers1 Bangladeshi lawmakers amended the country&s labor law this week. But while the officials called the new law a landmark strengthening of workers& rotections1 rights grou s said the law made only modest changes and took numerous ste s backward that undercut unions.


lawmakers ado ted the new law three weeks after the ;nited <tates

sus ended

Bangladesh&s trade references1 saying that labor rights and safety "iolations were far
too re"alent in that country&s factories. Moreo"er1 the !uro ean ;nion has threatened to re"oke Bangladesh&s trade ri"ileges for similar reasons.

eaking about the new law1 @handaker Mosharraf ?ossain1 the chairman of the arliamentary subcommittee on labor reforms1 told ReutersF KThe aim was to ensure workers& rights are strengthened1 and we ha"e done that. I am ho ing this will assuage global fears around this issue.L The Bangladeshi go"ernment has faced fierce ressure to im ro"e conditions for the nation&s four million garment workers since the Rana Pla9a factory building

colla sed in A

ril1 killing +1+:, workers.

the new law1 factories will be re)uired to set aside 7 ercent of rofits for a welfare fund for em loyees1 although the law e'em ts e' ortCoriented factories. A arel is Bangladesh&s dominant industry1 with T+4 billion in annual e' orts1 making it the world&s secondClargest garment e' orter after %hina.

under the old law1 workers ho ing to form a union must gather signatures of 58 ercent of a com any&s workers S a le"el that was onerous1 labor leaders said1 because many a arel manufacturers ha"e thousands of workers. To make unioni9ing easier1 labor leaders were urging lawmakers to ado t a +8 ercent threshold. In Bangladesh1 se"eral unions might re resent em loyees in a single factory.

leaders com lain that Bangladeshi unions are highly olitical and sometimes stage disru ti"e strikes as a com lementary tactic to olitical blocs& lobbying and infighting.

a ste that could hel unioni9ation1 the new law bars the country&s labor ministry from gi"ing factory owners the list of the 58 ercent of workers who want to form a union. $abor leaders said that after recei"ing those lists1 owners often fired union su orters or ressed many to withdraw their names from the etition1 bringing the number below the re)uisite 58 ercent mark for a union to be recogni9ed.

labor leaders e' ressed concern that go"ernment officials would still gi"e the names to factory owners1 erha s because of collusion or bribes.

go"ernment says this will make it easier for workers to organi9e1L said Babul Akhter1 the resident of the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial /orkers 6ederation. KThat&s not true.L

Akhter raised the legislation for adding some rotections on fire and building safetyF it strengthens re)uirements for ermits when a factory adds floors.

Rights /atch said1 howe"er1 that the new law would make unioni9ing harder. It critici9ed the legislation for adding more industrial sectors1 including hos itals1 where workers would not be ermitted to form unions. The grou noted that workers in Bangladesh&s im ortant e' ort rocessing 9ones would remain legally unable to unioni9e.


addition1 the go"ernment would be em owered to sto a strike if it would cause Kserious hardshi to the communityL or be K re(udicial to the national interest.L And workers at any factory owned by foreigners or established in collaboration with foreigners would be barred from striking during the o eration&s first three years.

Bangladesh go"ernment des erately wants to mo"e the s otlight away from the Rana Pla9a disaster1 so it&s not sur rising it is now trying to show that it belatedly cares about workers& rights1L said Phil Robertson1 de uty Asia director for ?uman Rights /atch. KThis would be good news if the new law fully met international standards1 but the sad reality is that the go"ernment has consciously limited basic workers& rights while e' osing workers to continued risks and e' loitation.L

the new law1 unions would need go"ernment a ro"al before they could recei"e technical1 health1 safety or financial su ort from other countries.

Jbama administration official said "arious agencies were seeking to obtain the e'act language of the new law in order to study it.

Ramesh %handra1 a owerful Bangladeshi labor leader1 said the legislation might not ha"e done enough to ersuade !uro e not to sus end trade references or to get /ashington to reinstate such references.

@ournals comparing with india how is now our la our conditions

The labour unrest in the readymade garments sector in Bangladesh has ut Indian a arel e' orters in an ad"antageous osition. The ;< and !; are di"erting orders from Bangladesh to India to meet their a arel re)uirements for the u coming summer season. Indian a arel e' orters are making most of the situation. They are scaling u o erations and negotiating deals with foreign buyers so that they can en(oy a bigger ie of the o"erseas markets. Talking to !T1 D@ Aair1 general secretary1 %onfederation of Indian Te'tile Industry *%ITI.1 saidF HThough we do not want to take ad"antage of any countryDs roblem1 it is true that orders are being di"erted to India from ;< and !;1 and this is hel ing our a arel e' orts.H !' ort in dollar terms for A rilCJctober of the current fiscal has increased by +7.7O o"er the same eriod of the re"ious financial year and reached T41:7, million. In ru ee terms1 a arel e' orts from India ha"e increased by :3.+4O in the same eriod to touch Rs 2,18,3 crore com ared to Rs 541,++ crore in the same eriod of the re"ious year.

!' orters from Tiru ur1 the largest knitwear hub of the country1 ha"e bagged good e' ort orders due to the labour unrest in BangladeshDs garment sector. HThe order osition has im ro"ed com ared to the re"ious year. Bangladesh is not the sole reason for this u swing. Both the ;< and !uro e are slowly reco"ering from the economic slowdown which is getting reflected in the order osition. ;nits in Tiru ur remained underutilised due to the recession that had gri ed the ;< and !uro e. But now the situation has im ro"ed and the units are flooded with orders1H said <an(ay @umar Gu ta1 %!J1 Tiru ur !' orters Association. @ <el"ara(u1 secretary general1 <outhern India Mills Association1 added1 HAot only the ;< and !uro e1 e"en %hina is icking u good "olumes of yarn1 te'tiles and fabrics from India. <o the te'tile industry in the country is in a good osition right nowH. Bangladesh has (ust re"ised wages of its garment workers which has ut Bangladesh roughly in the same league with a arel e' orters from India1 <ri $anka and %ambodia. This will make Bangladesh less com etiti"e in the world markets. ?@$ Magu1 senior "iceCchairman1 A arel !' ort Promotion %ouncil1 saidF H!arlier1 there was a ga of :8O in cost com onent between Bangladeshi and Indian a arel e' orters. But with rising wages1 that ga is e' ected to narrow down. Indian a arel e' orters are now o"erbooked with orders for the u coming summer season. /e are also negotiating deals with foreign buyers as ru ee is now ho"ering around the 3+ C3: le"el against the dollar. /hen the ru ee had touched the 34 le"el1 foreign buyers had renegotiated their deals. Aow that ru ee has strengthened1 we ha"e to re"isit the deals