Tripartism and social dialogue

Towards greater transparency in union registration and labour practice

Trade unions gain awareness of standard operating procedures for unfair labour practices and trade union registrations.

Press release | Dhaka | 21 September 2017
Trade union representatives participated in a discussion on the procedures of union registration and unfair labour practices in Bangladesh.
DHAKA (ILO News) - Trade Union representatives are now better aware of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on union registration and unfair labour practices.

Some 34 representatives of the National Coordination Council for Workers Education (NCCWE) and the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) discussed the two SOPs in an information and knowledge sharing workshop held on 20-21 September, 2017.

Mahandra Naidoo, Chief Technical Advisor of ILO’s Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations (SDIR) Project summarised the objective of the discussion session. “These Standard Operating Procedures will help facilitate Freedom of Association in Bangladesh. The SOPs have now been in place for a number of months and we wish to gain feedback from the trade unions on how they are working.”

ILO’s SDIR project has assisted the Government of Bangladesh in developing these SOPs which were adopted by the government in May and August 2017 respectively. The SOP on Trade Union Registration introduces a standardised procedure with fixed steps and times that offer greater clarity and transparency to the process. Likewise, the SOP for Unfair Labour Practices includes a series of steps from the submission of a written complaint to the Department of Labour to ultimately cases being referred to the Labour Court.

Khadija Akter
Khadija Akter is a labour leader who participated in the workshop. She said, “It is important to know about these new rules. Now we are better aware of the timeline for application, verification, investigation, resolution and recording processes. This would help us to monitor the applications and complaints submitted to the Department of Labour”.

Khadija helps trade union members to apply for union registration and conducts training on labour law, collective bargaining and grievance handling.

Amongst other activities, the workshop has backed the process of social dialogue in Bangladesh by providing inputs to the Terms of Reference for the Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC) established in May 2017 for the garment sector. The TCC brings together representatives of the government, employers and workers organisations in order to facilitate dialogue between the parties.

“The Standard Operating Procedures and Tripartite Consultative Committee for the garment sector are building blocks upon which social dialogue and improved industrial relations will be built. Putting them into place is a good achievement. However it is vital that they become operationally effective as quickly as possible,” Mr Naidoo added.

Running until March 2021 the SDIR project is funded by the governments of Sweden and Denmark and implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, employers, and trade unions. The initiative is developing dialogue mechanisms between employers and workers as a means of preventing and resolving disputes. It is also working to strengthen conciliation and arbitration mechanisms so that they are more credible, trusted and transparent.