Workplace cooperation in the RMG sector is vital to boost productivity

Leaders and top management of the RMG sector enterprises participated in a consultation meeting on workplace cooperation organized by the International Labour Organization

Around 50 top executives of ready-made garment (RMG) enterprises joined in a consultation meeting aimed at promoting cooperation among the management and workers at factory level. The meeting titled “Workplace Cooperation in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) Sector” was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Chief Executives Officers (CEOs), Managing Directors, Directors, and Heads of Human Resource Department from 30 RMG factories attended the discussion. “Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Bangladesh” (FPRW) project of ILO organized the consultation meeting which was held on 29 November 2014 in Dhaka.

Mr. Md. Atiqul Islam, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Mr. Farooq Ahmed, Secretary-General, Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), Mr. Mansoor Ahmed, 2nd Vice President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Mr. Srinivas B Reddy, Country Director, ILO Office in Bangladesh and Mr. Ravindra Samithadasa, Project Coordinator, DECLARATION Project of ILO were the key speakers at this high level consultation.

Speakers at a consultation meeting stressed on the importance of workplace cooperation to ensure sustainable growth of the RMG sector in Bangladesh. They also underlined the need for efforts for building confidence and mutual trust among the managers and workers.

ILO Country Director for Bangladesh, Mr. Srinivas B Reddy reiterated ILO’s commitment in promoting economic prosperity with social justice. “Our efforts are to make you understand challenges ahead in that regard”. He mentioned that ILO’s agenda in Bangladesh is that of the needs of the constituents which includes the government, employers and workers. Mr. Reddy reported that ILO is looking into a long-term strategy to enhance capacity of both mid-level managers and workers’ representatives in Bangladesh.

Participants at the consultation meeting gave emphasis on capacity building of the mid-level managers and workers representatives for promoting effective labour-management relations in the RMG Sector in Bangladesh. Key speakers recommended to develop a Code of Conduct to facilitate a guideline for relations between the management and workers.

Mr. Md. Atiqul Islam, President, BGMEA, said that it is the desire and capacity of workers whether they want to form a trade union in an enterprise. However, the management should not interfere if they wish for so.

Recommendations were made by the participants of the meeting for empowering of the Department of Labour in regard to their human resources and logistics so that they are better equipment to effective monitor of the implementation of the labour law at enterprise level.

Mr. Farooq Ahmed, BEF, observed that to be competitive globally, the RMG sector in Bangladesh has to respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargain. This is obligatory for Bangladesh as a member country of ILO. At the same time workers are also required to vie for responsive trade unions. He urged entrepreneurs to take initiatives so that positive aspects of the industries are projected.

Mr. Mansoor Ahmed, Vice President, BKMEA, underscored the importance of workplace cooperation in promoting productivity and business.

Mr. Ravindra Samithadasa, Project Coordinator, DECLARATION Project, ILO Dhaka made a thematic presentation.

The FPRW Project is funded by the US Department of Labor which has reached more than 2,500 workers representatives, mid-level managers, and government officials under its capacity building activities.

The project initiated activities to promote effective workplace cooperation in the RMG sector in collaboration with the BEF, BGMEA, BKMEA, and National Coordination Committee for Workers Education (FPRW). The activities included capacity building training for mid-level managers and workers’ representatives, advocacy and advisory services to the enterprise levels. The project is implemented through technical collaboration with the Bangladesh Institute of Management (BIM) and Industrial Relations Institutes (IRI).