Minister asks garment makers to form bodies to fight labour unrest
The labour and employment minister yesterday asked the garment makers to form "participation committees" at the factory-level to curb labour unrest.
Such committees will help develop the relationship between the workers and owners, said Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, the minister.
He also said the recent incidents of labour unrest were due to the absence of such platforms where both the owners and workers can hold dialogues.
The formation of trade unions in the garment sector will be based on the performance of the participatory committees, the minister said.
He was addressing an emergency meeting of the garment owners' platform -- Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) -- in Dhaka.
“You have to form the participatory committees as the workers do not have any platform to hold talks with the owners to address their problems,” the minister told the garment owners.
Hossain also directed the secretary of his ministry to hold meetings of the five zonal crisis management committees to resolve the crisis in the garment sector.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to the conspiracy responsible for the recent unrest in the garment sector,” he said.
The owners will have to form the platform to hold dialogues with the workers, the minister said.
The BGMEA called the meeting to discuss labour unrest as factories were being damaged by angry workers following a rumour that a worker went missing.
Ministers, lawmakers, senior government officials, police, chamber leaders, labour leaders and different stakeholders spoke at the hurriedly called meeting.
Echoing the views of Hossain, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan also suggested the owners should form the participatory committees and strengthen their mid-level management.
Israfil Alam MP, chairman of the standing committee on the labour and employment ministry, said the latest labour unrest at Ha-Meem Group might take place due to the influence of the local political leaders at Ashulia.
AK Azad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and also the owner of the affected Ha-Meem Group, urged the government to convene an emergency meeting of different ministries to end the problem through discussion.
“We will also allow the practice of healthy trade unionism. But, we need trained and skilled trade union leaders,” he said.
Director General of Industrial Police Abdus Salam urged the local parliamentarians to play more pro-active roles in curbing the unrest in the garment factories.
He said the police have already withdrawn the cases against Salman, a storekeeper of Ha-Meem Group. The latest labour unrest took place due to a rumour that Salman went missing, but he was present at yesterday's meeting. BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin presided over the meeting.