1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Women's Employment in the Textile Manufacturing Sectors of Bangladesh and Morocco


Chapter 6: Trade unions, gender issues and the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh, by Shamsul I. Khan

This chapter begins by summarizing the history of the unionization process, the basic ensemble of the federations, as well as the role of the garment federations and their basic units in promoting the causes of the predominantly female labour force. It then analyses general views as well as responses of the owners of various ready-made garment (RMG) enterprises to the initiatives of either the federations or of some workers in their respective factories for unionization. Next, it evaluates government policies towards labour in general, and towards the formation of federations of workers union and/or unit unions in particular. It also makes critical assessments of procedural activities as well as monitoring policies of both the offices of the Registrar of Trade Unions and Federations of Trade Unions, and the Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishments of the Directorate of Labour. In this connection, it also describes the legal framework for handling disputes with particular reference to the unionization process and issues related to the dismissal or other punitive measures taken against the office bearers of unit unions. The somewhat ambivalent relationship existing between the federations of the garment workers’ unions and the structured trade unions — meaning labour front organizations of various political parties — are also illustrated towards the end of the chapter.

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