Bangladesh's trade unions were briefed on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in regards to unfair labour practices and union registrations at a workshop held in Dhaka on Thursday.
Some 34 representatives of the National Coordination Council for Workers Education (NCCWE) and the IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) discussed the SOPs and provided feedback on their implementation on the ground.
“SOPs for unfair labour practices and trade union registration will help facilitate freedom of association in Bangladesh,” said Mahandra Naidoo, Chief Technical Advisor of the Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations (SDIR) Project.
“It is vital that the trade union members at all levels understand how they work so that they can make full use of them.”
The SOPs for union registration and unfair labour practices were adopted by the Government of Bangladesh in May and July 2017 respectively.
“The SOPs for union registration 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,” Naidoo added.
The SOPs for Trade Union Registration introduce a standardised procedure with fixed steps and times that offer greater clarity and transparency to the process.
Likewise, the SOPs for Unfair Labour Practices include 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.
Running until March 2021, the SDIR project is funded by the governments of Sweden and Denmark and is being implemented by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with the Bangladesh government, employers, and trade unions.
Amongst other activities, it has supported the Bangladesh government to develop both sets of SOPs and has backed the process of social dialogue in the country by providing inputs to the Terms of Reference for the Tripartite Consultative Committee (TCC).
The TCC was established in May 2017 for the garment sector and brings together representatives of the government, employers and workers organisations in order to facilitate dialogue between the parties.
“The SOPs and TCC for the garment sector are building blocks upon which social dialogue and improved industrial relations will be built,” Naidoo said. “Putting them into place is a good achievement, however it is vital that they become operationally effective as quickly as possible.”
The SDIR 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.