The rate at which application for trade union registration is rejected has been increasing in Chittagong zone over the year while the rate is decreasing in Dhaka zone.
Following the Rana Plaza Building collapse in 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the government amid global pressure was forced to allow increased number of trade union registration in readymade garment sector.
According to the data of the Department of Labour, the total number of trade union in the RMG sector reached to 632 till 2017.
Data show that a total of 489 trade unions were registered in the RMG sector in 2013-2017.
As per the DoL data, trade union application rejection rate in the year of 2017 increased to 57 per cent from 50 per cent in 2016.
In 2017, out of 31 applications, Chittagong office of the DoL approved registration of 13 trade unions and rejected 17 applications.
In 2016, the rejection rate in the zone was 50 per cent as the divisional office had rejected 20 of total 40 applications.
In 2016, the rejection rate increased to 50 per cent from 15 per cent in 2015, the data show.
According to the data, in 2017, the rate in Dhaka zone was 15 per cent as the DoL rejected 16 of total 112 applications.
In 2016, the department received a total of 92 applications and rejected 26, that is 30 per cent of received applications.
The rejection rate was highest 73 per cent in Dhaka zone in 2015, the DoL data show.
Labour leaders have said that the number of trade union has been increasing in the RMG sector but a good number of registration applications have been rejected every year.
‘It appears that the rejection rate decreased in Dhaka zone but the reception of applications compared to workers willing to submit applications fell too in the zone,’ Md Towhidur Rahman, secretary general of InduatriALL Bangladesh Council, told New Age on Tuesday.
He said that bypassing labour law, Dhaka office made the physical presence of president and secretary of proposed trade union mandatory during submitting the application.
Towhidur alleged that in some cases if a trade union existed in any establishment, the Dhaka office was not receiving any other trade union registration application from the workers of the establishment.
He also said that the workers of Chittagong faced difficulties in getting trade unions due to controversial activities of labour director in the zone.
Recently, International Labour Organisation expressed dissatisfaction over the high rate of rejection of trade union registration applications.
An expert committee of ILO noted that obstacles to registration remained and the labour directorate retained discretionary power to refuse registration.
It also observed that trade unions in many sectors faced repeated refusal of registration.
Shibnath Roy, additional secretary and director general of DoL, said that some of the trade union applications were rejected as they lacked proper documents.
‘Following application by the workers, the department seek a report on the proposed union members from the respective factory authorities. In some cases the application faces rejection as the factory authorities do not provide proper report to the DoL,’ he said.
Shibnath also said that they made the physical presence of president and secretary mandatory during submitting trade union registration application as the department found same names as president and secretary in some applications.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Apparel