The ITUC affiliates in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC), the Bangladesh Jatyatabadi Sramik Dal (BJSD), the Bangladesh Labour Federation (BLF), the Bangladesh Mukto Sramik Federation (BMSF), the Bangladesh Sanjukta Sramik Federation (BSSF) and the Jatio Sramik League (JSL).
On 24 April 2013, at least 1,129 workers were killed when the eight-story Rana Plaza building complex in the Dhaka suburb of Savar collapsed. The complex housed five garment factories employing as many as 5,000 workers. This includes the New Wave factory, which supplies clothes to major global retailers such as Mango, Primark and Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws. Ether Tex Ltd, which supplies garments for buyers such as Walmart and C&A, was also housed in the complex, as was Phantom TAC, a joint venture knit factory with a Spanish textile company which boasted on its website of its “unique Social Transparency Tag” assuring the “high standards of working conditions in the factory”. The building also housed a bank and several shops. At the time of the collapse, 2,000 people were said to have been on the upper floors of the building.
On 24 November 2012, a fire erupted at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd factory, which claimed the lives of over 100 workers. This fire follows the recent garment factory fires in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan, in September which claimed over 300 lives. The cause of the recent fires is suspected to be faulty wiring, often caused by using cheap and un-insulated wiring which overheats and causes these catastrophes. To keep costs as low as possible (and profits as high), Bangladeshi garment factories often cut major corners on health and safety.
The anti-union stance of the industry as a whole has also foreclosed any opportunity to resolve critical industrial relations
The individual and collective relations and dealings between workers and employers at the workplace, as well as the institutional interaction between unions, employers and also the government.
See social dialogue issues such as health and safety through dialogue and collective negotiation. Instead, the industry, with the support of the government, is fighting to keep the industry union free – promoting participation committees, which have no power to bargain over the terms and conditions of their employment, and which are frequently dominated by management’s hand-picked representatives from among the workers, in place of unions.
Currently, there is an ILO
International Labour Organization
A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.
See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights -led process under way to reform the Labour Act of 2006 in relation to a handful of priority issues. The proposals include amendments on the minimum membership requirement of 30 per cent, the disclosure of names of union founders to the employer, and setting the number of union officers who may not be employed in the enterprise. Comments have been submitted by employers and workers to the Ministry of Labour, following numerous tripartite dialogue sessions facilitated by the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.
See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights . Furthermore, as the Parliament is dominated by garment factory owners, there is further concern that even if the proposals were acceptable, the Parliament could nevertheless amend them to suit the interests of the garment industry.