The International Labour Organisation yesterday advised Bangladesh to align the rules of union registration in the garment sector with its Convention 87 that addresses the matter of freedom of association by workers.
The suggestion was based on the statements made by the government representative and the discussion that followed at the 106th International Labour Conference, the ILO's annual convention that was held in Geneva between June 5 and 16.
The committee said there has been insufficient progress in relation to previous discussions.
More needed to be done to achieve compliance with convention No. 87 and that this must take place without further delay.
It also called upon the government to ensure that the Bangladesh Labour Act, the Bangladesh Labour Rules and the EPZ Labour Act are brought into conformity with the provisions of the convention regarding freedom of association.
Investigations into all alleged acts of anti-union discrimination, including in Ashulia, must be conducted and the workers illegally dismissed should be reinstated without further delay, the ILO said in a report.
Fines or criminal sanctions, particularly in cases of violence against trade unionists, according to the law must be imposed. The ILO committee also advised that applications for union registration are acted upon expeditiously and not denied unless they fail to meet clear and objective criteria set forth in the law. The committee urged the government to continue to effectively engage in ILO technical assistance to address the recommendations.
The government must report in detail on the measures taken to implement the recommendations in the next meeting of the Committee of Experts, due to take place in November. The committee took note of the drafting of Standard Operating Procedures made by the labour ministry regarding union registration in collaboration with the ILO, the establishment of the Tripartite Consultative Council for the garment sector and the recall from the parliament of the draft EPZ Labour Act.
The Bangladesh representative in the meeting informed the ILO that the government will soon place the EPZ draft law in the parliament again for bringing the necessary amendment to conform with the ILO's Convention 87.