What is labour in Business
Bangladesh offers an abundant supply of disciplined, easily trainable and low-
cost workers suitable for any labor-intensive industry in the world.
Of late, there is an increasing supply of professionals, technologists and other
middle- and low-level skilled workers. They receive specialized technical
training for universities, college, technical training centers, polytechnic
8.1 Employment Conditions:
The minimum age for workers in Bangladesh is 18 years in factories and
Contracts are made in the form of a letter of offer. Workers may also be engaged
on verbal agreements.
In government organizations and in some private organizations as well, a
probation period exists for skilled or semi-skilled workers varying between three
months to one year. During this period either party may serve one month's notice
for termination of the job. In the private sector, the dignity of labour is ensured in
accordance with the principles enunciated by the International Labour
Organization’s (ILO) conventions and recommendations.
8.2 Labour Laws:
In Bangladesh 48 labour laws are now in operation. These relate to wages and
employment, trade union & industrial disputes, working environments and
labour administration and related matters.
The main labour laws are:
Workmen's Compensation Act 1923
Payment of Wages Act 1936
Maternity Benefits Act 1936
Employment of Labour (Standing Orders) Act 1965
Shops & Establishments Act 1965
Factories Act 1965
Industrial Relations Ordinance 1969
8.2.1 SETTLEMENT OF LABOUR DISPUTES:
Contracts or agreements are usually made between the management and the
Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) for the settlement of industrial disputes as
per provisions of the Industrial Relations Ordinance 1969.
In cases where a bipartite negotiation fails, the conciliation machinery of the
government is requested by the aggrieved party to intervene and a conciliation
process is undertaken. If this succeeds, an agreement is signed between the
parties and the Conciliation Officer becomes a witness. If it fails, the party
raising the dispute may go for a strike or lockout as the case may be. The
government may, however, prohibit the same after one month in the interest of
the public. In essential services such as electricity, gas, oil and water supply etc.,
hospital & ambulance services, fire brigades, railways and the Bangladesh
Biman, and ports etc., strikes are prohibited.
8.2.2 WAGES AND FRINGE BENEFITS:
In the public sector, wages and fringe benefits of workers are determined by the
government on the recommendation of the National Wages Commission, which
is established from time to time. (Commissions were appointed in 1973, 1977,
1984, 1989 and 1992.) Wages and fringe benefits declared by the government
in 1977 have 20 grades of wages. Public sector employees are, however,
covered by the Pay Commission which is declared by the government from
time to time.
In the private sector, the wages and fringes benefit of workers and employees
are determined through a collective bargaining process. Sometimes, private
industries follow the public-sector wages and salary structure for their workers
and employees respectively.
8.2.3 LEAVE & HOLIDAYS:
Leave and holidays of workers and employees are regulated and executed by
the Factories Act 1965 and the Shops Establishment Act 1965.
8.2.4 SOCIAL SECURITY:
The Workmen’s Compensation, Maternity Benefit (Tea Estate) Act 1950,
Maternity Benefit Act 1939 and Employment of Labour (standing orders) Act
1965 etc. deal with provident funds and gratuities.
8.2.5 LABOUR UNION:
The Industrial Relations Ordinance 1969 deals with trade unions in Bangladesh.
In any industrial and commercial establishment, a trade union may be formed
with 30% of the total number of workers employed. If there is more than one
union in any establishment, a collective bargaining agent is determined by the
Registrar of the trade union through a sector ballot for a term of two years.
Only the collective bargaining agent is authorized to raise industrial disputes
and negotiate with the management. The Director of Labour of the government
acts as the Registrar of Trade Unions in Bangladesh.
The Industrial Relations Ordinance 1969 provides that any worker or employer/
has the right to form a union/association without previous authorization. But
such a union/association cannot function as a trade union without being
registered under the law.
8.2.6 WORKING HOURS:
Workers in the public or private sector remain at their job for 8.5 hours daily
(including half an hour for meal or rest) with Friday as weekly holiday marking
48 working hours per week. Work in excess of these hours is paid as overtime.
The rate of overtime is two hours pay for one hour of work.