Workers' ownership in industry stressed
Renowned economist Professor Rehman Sobhan yesterday stressed workers' participation in industry ownership, in a bid to create a win-win situation.
“Most workers are being deprived and this creates havoc in the industries. These issues may be intertwined with politics and give rise to chaos in future,” he said.
Owners are unable to increase workers' salaries, as the hike will decrease price-competitiveness, he added.
“Accept them [workers] as co-owners of your industry,” he urged.
The concept of sharing ownership with workers is not revolutionary, rather, the concept is universally practiced in the corporate world, said Rehman Sobhan, also the chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue.
Furthermore, he suggested the government should create funds to support workers to buy shares of an industry.
The workers could also appoint a trustee to get financial assistance from the government fund and the workers will pay back the borrowed money through dividends, he said.
He was addressing a national seminar on the “Impact of Globalisation and Economic Reforms on the Industry and Labour Market in Bangladesh: Position and Role of Trade Unions”, organised by Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) and Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) in Dhaka.
Talking about globalisation, Rehman Sobhan said it has both pros and cons. Owing to globalisation, the country's exports have increased to $12 billion and employment opportunities for 20 lakh people have been created, he added.
BEI President Farooq Sobhan said regardless of whether globalisation is good or bad, the reality is that Bangladesh will have to face the challenges of globalisation.
“It is not possible for the government alone to face the challenges. A public-private partnership is needed to tackle the challenges,” he said.
He said, despite demands, there is no workers' representation in the Better Business Forum (BBF).
The BEI president said it was not appropriate to close state-owned industries in the name of workers'
wrongdoings. “Measures will have to be taken to revive the closed state-owned industries, including the jute mills,” he said.
Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, assistant executive director of BILS, presented a paper on 'Consolidated Recommendations of Regional Seminars' at the function. Kamran T Rahman, president of Bangladesh Employers Federation and Dr Wajedul Islam, coordinator of Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP), also spoke.