The Bangladesh government has launched a new project titled ‘Promoting Social Dialogue and Harmonious Industrial Relations’ to improve workplace relations in the readymade garment (RMG) sector. The programme will enhance dialogue between the government, employers and workers and will also help in preventing and solving disputes and increase productivity.
The project is funded by Sweden and Denmark governments and implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, employers, and trade unions. The initiative to strengthen conciliation and arbitration mechanisms will continue till March 2021.
“With its focus on strengthening social dialogue and constructive dispute resolution, this project provides a defining opportunity for Bangladesh to achieve its social and economic transformation goals, through partnership and inclusion,” said ILO director-general Guy Ryder at the launch.
A key focus of the project will be on enhancing the grievance handling capacity, procedures and mechanisms of the department of labour (DoL), Bangladesh. This will include specialised training for 15-20 DoL officials to create a national pool of conciliators. An independent pool of arbitrators will also be established. In addition, Workers’ Resource Centres will be established to support capacity building for unions and to help them deal with dispute situations.
“Bangladesh government is fully committed to fostering better workplace relations. This important project, through its core focus on improving industrial relations through social dialogue, will benefit every industry across Bangladesh,” said Md Mujibul Haque, minister of labour and employment.
The project will be initially piloted in the RMG sector, with gradual scaling up within the sector. However, the impact of the project and particularly that of the dispute resolution mechanism will cover all other sectors. Through the project, improved dialogue will be fostered between trade unions and employers in at least 150 unionised enterprises. This will be achieved by developing social dialogue skills and expertise of both managers and union representatives. Workplace cooperation mechanisms and capacity of unions and employers will also be boosted in 350 non-unionised factories, while practical grievance handling procedures will be developed in each of the 500 participating factories. (RR)
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