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Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Bangladesh : Decks clear for trade union in EPZ

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 > 08:35:36

(BD News 24)

The Cabinet has provisionally approved the draft of Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Labour Act-2014 clearing the decks for formation of trade union by the workers of the EPZ.

A cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the nod to the draft at the Secretariat on Monday.

After the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told journalists the proposed law had a provision for the EPZ workers to form ‘Workers’ Welfare Society’ or trade union and they would also have bargaining power.

“The new law is compatible with the existing labour law,” he added.

Bhuiyan said, “To form a trade union, 30 percent of workers of an organisation will have to apply to EPZ authority for it.

"The authorities then will organise a voting among the applicants. If 50 percent of the votes opt for trade union, the authorities will give the permission to form a trade union in the organisation.”

Workers’ welfare association is also subject to registration, added the secretary.

He also said, “Bangladesh Labour Law 2006 does not apply to EPZ workers. Instead, they are governed by two other manuals, EPZ Workers’ Welfare Society and Industrial Relations Act.”

The new law is intended to protect EPZ workers’ interests, he said.

Other stakeholders were consulted while preparing the draft of new law, which has 16 chapters, 204 sections and 5 articles.

Recruitment condition, maternity benefit, job security, work environment, working hours, EPZ wage board, trade union freedom, bargaining power, EPZ labour court, inspection, holiday, wage and many other provisions are included in the new law.

Allaying any apprehension that the new law might hinder FDI or create problem with owners, Bhuiyan said the new law was drafted after consulting owners.

He was optimistic that the new EPZ labour law would enhance the image of Bangladesh.

RMG-importing countries have long been pressing Bangladesh for forming trade unions in EPZ.

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