the Bangladesh Government
Revise the labor law to ensure it is in line
with international labor standards. The law and 2013 amendments fall short of
International Labour Organization labor standards ratified by Bangladesh,
including Convention No. 87 on freedom of association and Convention No. 98 on
the right to organize and bargain collectively.
Ensure that workers’ rights to form
unions and collectively bargain are protected. Promptly address complaints
lodged with the labor department and ensure that workers are able to express
their concerns without intimidation by managers and supervisors. Instruct the
police to properly investigate complaints of physical attacks and identify
perpetrators (critical because managers often use hired thugs and then deny any
role). Investigate all factory owners alleged to have engaged in anti-union
activity, and hold accountable and penalize employers found to have violated
Carry out effective and impartial
investigations into all workers’ allegations of mistreatment, including
beatings, threats, and other abuses, and prosecute those responsible.
Develop and implement a plan to increase the
number of government labor, fire, and building inspectors, improve their
training, establish clear procedures for independent and credible inspections,
and expand the resources at their disposal to conduct effective inspections.
Expand factory inspections and labor rights
protections to the Export Processing Zones (EPZs).
Investigate all credible allegations of
corruption by labor inspectors and prosecute those responsible.
Establish an effective complaint mechanism
so that workers can raise violations of safety regulations and workers’
rights without fear of retaliation.
the labor department so that it has greater powers to penalize owners and unions for unfair labor practices, instead of just
relying on the judiciary to address
grievances. These should include fines and other sanctions to deter future
Investigate all cases in which managers or
owners allegedly filed trumped up criminal complaints against workers and union
organizers, and promptly drop all unwarranted charges.
further steps to effectively investigate the murder of labor activist Aminul
Investigate allegations that factory owners
share a blacklist of workers involved in union activities and end any
discrimination in hiring based on union involvement.
Ratify ILO convention 121 on benefits to
workers injured in workplace accidents.
Amend regulations restricting foreign
funding to non-governmental labor organizations.
Implement the Supreme Court ruling to
protect against sexual harassment in the workplace.
the Ministry of Labour and Employment
Review, in consultation with independent
unions and the ILO, all union registration requirements and eliminate any that
violate ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association. In the interim, accept
and promptly grant pending applications for union licenses.
Develop, in consultation with independent
unions, a transparent system of union registrations that allows workers to
track the status of each application online.
Publicly report the status and final
outcomes of union registration applications—including the time taken to
process the applications and the basis for any denials—and provide
information on collective bargaining agreements concluded between unions and
Periodically disclose the number of
factories inspected, key labor rights violations, and enforcement action
Allocate adequate budgets for labor
inspectors and periodically disclose a statement of allocation and expenditure.
Periodically disclose the names and number
of garment factories that are registered with the ministry so that these may be
cross-verified by labor rights groups and the Ministry of Labour for
Periodically disclose any actions initiated
by the ministry against non-compliant garment factories. Publicly disclose all
suppliers and subcontractors on a regular (such as semi-annual) basis, indicate
the level of production (for example, whether the unit is a small, medium, or
large supplier) and disclose when the unit was most recently inspected by
To the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and
Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA)
Publicly support the right of workers to
form trade unions and work with unions and factory owners to ensure that
workers’ right to freedom of association is respected.
Encourage members to support the
establishment of independent unions and ensure protection of both union members
and leaders. Adopt and make public written policies prohibiting discriminatory
action against workers, such as disciplining or dismissing workers based on
pregnancy or union membership.
Ensure that members strictly abide by the
Work with BGMEA and BKMEA members and the
government to ensure that anti-union behavior is eradicated.
Encourage members to drop pending unwarranted
criminal charges against labor activists and workers who have sought to
Collaborate with the International Labor
Organization to educate factory owners in the benefits of having independent
trade unions and improved labor relations.
To International Apparel Companies
Effectively implement policies and practices
to ensure that all factories in Bangladesh involved in the supply chain of
apparel respect worker rights, in particular the rights to freedom of
association and collective bargaining.
Institute regular factory inspections to
ensure that factories comply with companies’ codes of conduct and the
Bangladesh Labor Law.
Audits and inspections undertaken by or on
behalf of apparel companies should include an investigation of concerns about
workers’ rights to freedom of association and protection against
Create a whistleblower protection system for
workers and union representatives who alert an international apparel company to
labor rights abuses in a factory manufacturing their products. The system
should ensure that all workers and union representatives receive appropriate
protection for a reasonable period, including legal representation to defend
themselves against vexatious lawsuits or criminal complaints filed by
factories; monthly wages (including the minimum wage, reasonable allowances,
and overtime pay); and, where workers are dismissed from work soon after
reporting the labor rights abuses, that they do not face obstacles to obtaining
alternative employment at a nearby location.
Publicly disclose all authorized production
units on a regular basis including any subcontracts. Indicate the level of
production (for example, whether the unit is a small, medium, or large
supplier), and disclose when the unit was most recently inspected by
Ensure that unauthorized
subcontractor factories brought to brand attention are formally reported to the
Ministry of Labor and Employment for monitoring and enforcement action.
Join the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord,
a legally binding agreement that seeks to involve factory workers in ensuring the
safety of factories.
Ensure that pricing and
sourcing contracts adequately reflect and incorporate the cost of labor,
health, and safety compliance in consultation with labor rights lawyers and
unions. This should include the cost of the minimum wage, overtime payments,
and all legal benefits.
Ensure that working conditions
fully respect human rights and dignity, including provision for appropriate
rest, restroom access and breaks, and drinking water breaks. Productivity
targets should not be set at such a level as to encourage or in any way
facilitate violations or undermining of such conditions.
Actively encourage women’s
participation in union leadership and encourage training, awareness, and
factory-level complaints mechanisms against sexual harassment at the workplace.
Companies who had any
commercial relationship with factories involved in either Rana Plaza or Tazreen
Fashions should support the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund and a similar fund
organized by the ILO for the victims of the Tazreen Fashions fire.
To the US,
EU, UK, Canada, Japan, and Other Countries whose International Companies Source from Bangladesh
Introduce legal measures to
require companies domiciled in the country who purchase apparel from outside
the country to periodically disclose and update their global suppliers and
subcontractors together with an indication of the volume that is sourced from
each supplier and subcontractor and the status of inspection by an independent
monitor on the date of disclosure. Advocate for comparable legal measures in
Provide funds and technical
guidance to strengthen the capacity, transparency, and accountability of the Bangladesh
Ministry of Labour.
To the ILO
Ensure the Bangladesh government brings its
labor laws into compliance with all ILO Conventions ratified by Bangladesh, and
the core labor standards outlined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights
and Principles at Work.
Provide technical assistance, as needed, to
ensure that labor inspections by the Ministry of Labor are comprehensive and
transparent, and result in effective regulatory enforcement actions in
accordance with the law.
Press international labor and international
employer groups to support full compensation for the workers or families of
workers killed or injured in the Rana Plaza building collapse and the Tazreen
Fashions factory fire.