Bangladesh Labour Act 2013 has been in force since 22nd July 2013 through official gazette notification of the government of Bangladesh but due to non-existence of the rules for implementation it is not being implemented, says the concerned authorities.

Labour leaders and rights groups, however, allege the government for intentional delay over formulation of the rules, protecting the factory owners’ interests. They said that after two years of being in force, effective implementation of the Labour Act 2013 is of outmost importance ensuring labour rights in Bangladesh.

Implementation of the Labour Act is getting delayed, following disagreements between the representatives of factory owners and workers over a number of issues relating to definition and outsourcing of workers, and their share in companies’ profit, sources said. The Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA) is, by far, the most prominent representative of the readymade garment factory owners in Bangladesh.

Besides, both the sides are yet to reach a consensus on the issues like functioning of the workers’ welfare fund, disputes over implementation of some provisions of the amended labour law with regard to formation of safety committees and their jurisdiction, they said.

The Bangladesh Ministry of Labour and Employment recently set March 2015 as the deadline for formulation of the rules after missing several self-set deadlines, including the latest one of December last.

There is also international pressure for implementation of the Labour Act put them into practice for improvement and assurance of workplace safety and labour standards, especially in the readymade garment (RMG) sector, following the deadly Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza building collapse, they added.

The EU and the US on different occasions pressed the government to formulate the rules for implementing the amended Labour Act but obviously failed so far. In order to revive the GSP facility in the USA and retain the same in the EU the government keep promising implementation without delivering as it committed formulating the rules by March 2014 and again sought time extension until July last and then December last, which also expired.

Ivonne Stein
Mrs. Ivonne Stein is a German Legal Advisor with nearly two decades of professional experience both in the private sector and government institution. She gained professional skills in Frankfurt, Zurich, London, New York and Brussels before moving from Islamabad to Dhaka. She advises foreign companies doing business in and with Bangladesh in compliance with the local legislations, labour, social and environmental standards working towards implementation of the relevant UN and ILO conventions as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Mrs. Stein can be reached by email at to[at]bangladeshinside.com
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