Resource centre to enhance Bangladesh RMG's union capacity

18 Apr '18
3 min read

A Workers Resource Centre (WRC) which aims to build the capacity of trade unions in the Bangladesh RMG sector was recently launched in Dhaka. A joint platform between the National Coordination Committee on Workers Education (NCCWE) and the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC), it will help unions operate effectively and provide better services to members.

The initiative is supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Social Dialogue and Harmonious Industrial Relations project funded by Sweden and Denmark.

The WRC will provide various services including advocacy, awareness raising and training on workers’ rights, dispute resolution, grievance handling, negotiation, collective bargaining as well as occupational safety and health. A team of paralegals is being put in place to provide legal advice to trade unions and federations to help address labour grievances and disputes. A call centre will help union members who wish to make complaints or ask advice. The WRC will also help promote the active participation of women in trade unions.

“The WRC should lead to a more effective union movement by fostering a culture of consultation, capacity building and information sharing. To ensure good governance in the RMG sector, dialogue and cooperation are critical. I hope that this process can go beyond the RMG industry and benefit workers in other sectors,” said Hasanul Haq Inu, minister of information, who was the chief guest at the launch event.

The WRC is run by a board of trustees representing the NCCWE and IBC federations. The WRC chair and vice chair posts will rotate amongst the board of trustees on a six-month basis while the board of trustees will serve a two-year term.

“The Workers Resource Centre will help build capacity as well as address fragmentation amongst trade unions operating in the garment sector. Ultimately, this will benefit workers and employers alike,” said Sukkur Mahmud, president, Jatiyo Sramik League and chairperson of the WRC.

Razequzzaman Ratan, member-secretary of NCCWE said, “As an institution WRC will help workers to know more about laws and regulations, increase the ability of unions and improve dispute settlement skills. Through the WRC our workers will become more confident. Thanks must go to ILO, Sweden and Denmark for helping to create such a centre for workers.”

“Many new unions have formed in the RMG sector over recent years but it takes time and considerable expertise for a union to operate effectively. Through its support the Workers Resource Centre will help unions learn how to better negotiate agreements and represent its workers in RMG factories,” said Towhidur Rahman, secretary general, IBC.

Representing the ILO, Kishore Kumar Singh said, “The launch of the WRC marks an important step in the strengthening of the trade union movement in Bangladesh. ILO will continue to work closely with the government, employers and workers organisations to help facilitate and promote better social dialogue in the RMG sector and beyond.”

The WRC office has been established in Tongi, an RMG-hub area close to Dhaka. The premises are currently being renovated and once complete will host worker and trade union training, meetings and conferences. The launch ceremony for the WRC took place at the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP). (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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