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Impacts of Poor Labor Relations: Based on 5 Real Life News Events

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BBA
Spring 2017

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Impacts of Poor Labor Relations: Based on 5 Real Life News Events

  1. 1. 3 | P a g e Poor Labour Relations means, when the relationship between the workers/labours & employer/owner is not healthy & sound but bad. The following real life news events are stated on behalf of the proofs that poor labour relations have bad & unpleasant consequences. Five (5) Real Life News Events Proving the Impacts of Poor Labour Relations [{1} (One)] Poor labour relations may create anarchy in the industry. Due to poor labour relations, collective bargain does not function & outside third party with bad intensions may have opportunity to create instability in the establishment as well as in the industry. Such incident happened on December 2016 at Ashulia of Dhaka. The afterwards findings of the whole event was covered by almost all the newspapers of the country on 17 January 2017 including online newspaper rmgtimes.com under the headlines like, garment workers unrest & 31 provocateur identified.
  2. 2. 4 | P a g e Some RMG workers started strike on 12 December 2016 in the demand of wage hike which spread in the others factories in the Ashulia area. 59 factories of the area had to be shut down for few days. Later on, investigation by the BD intelligence found that, it all started by some dishonest & opportunist outsider labours & leaders rather than the relevant working labours of that area. In this regard, Industrial Director General of Police (DG) Abdus Salam said that the conspirators conspired; that’s normal. But our focus is on them."The labor unrest is a peek now, but we're monitoring the overall situation & strictly." And RAB Additional Director General (ADG) Col Anwar Latif Khan said, "I have no knowledge of labor unrest in the factories. But labor leaders have been under surveillance. They will be taken immediately if any of the conspiracy. " Meanwhile, the secret police intelligence found after investigations that, 11 provocateurs are from national & 20 provocateurs are from local level who are responsible for creating this unrest. The eleven national leaders who provoked are the BD Garment Workers Trade Union Centre & leader of the Communist Party of BD Advocate Montu Chandra Ghosh, Md. Ruhul Amin, an independent Bengali Garments & Industrial Workers Fed. & the Communist Party leader, Shamima Nasreen, BD Garment & Industrial Workers Fed., Babul Akhter, Kalpana Akhter, BD Garment & Industrial Workers Fed. & Workers Party leader said. Rafiqul Islam Sujan, Textile Workers Fed. & BSD leader Tapan Saha, Trinamool Congress leader Najma Akhtar Garment Workers 'Fed., Clothing Workers' Trade Union leader, Dr Ali, garment workers & BSD Front leader Ahsan Habib & Jago BD Garment Workers Fed. leader, Sultan Bahar. And the twenty local leaders who provoked are Soumitra Kumar Das, president of the Garment Front; Jago BD Garment Workers Fed., regional president, Mamun Mia & 18 more. In conclusion, we can say that, the following unrest & strike was created by outside provocateurs who got their chance of anarchy only because of poor labour relations. If the labour relation was good, there would be a participation committee & collective bargaining process to solve the issues like wages & prevent such unfortunate events from happening.
  3. 3. 5 | P a g e Link: http://rmgtimes.com/2017/01/12/%E0%A6%86%E0%A6%B6%E0%A7%81%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BF%E0%A7%9F%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F-%E0%A6%AA%E0%A7%8B%E0%A6%B6%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%95- %E0%A6%B6%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%AE%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%95-%E0%A6%85%E0%A6%B8/ [{2} (Two)] Good labour relation is capable of saving jobs & maintaining industrial peace with the help of Cooperative Bargaining. Where there is bad labour relation, there is no collective bargain let alone cooperative or integrative bargain which may be the reason of losing jobs. On September 2016, a RMG factory named Sonia Sweaters Ltd at Ghosh-baag of Ashulia cut off about 323 workers. In respond, those workers did not go for violence but created a protest through human chain at Press-club of Dhaka. The director of the factory Mahbubur Rahman explained that, “those workers were downsized due to insufficient works & production order.” The news was covered by the Bangla newspaper the Daily Jugantor on 21 September 2016.
  4. 4. 6 | P a g e If the labour relation of the factory was good enough, the employer & workers could come to a solution like cooperative bargain where in the time of less production, all workers could keep their jobs at lower wage rates instead of terminating jobs. Link: http://www.jugantor.com/online/economics/2016/09/21/25598/আশুলিয়ায়-গার্মেন্টর্ের-৩২৩-শ্রলমক-ছাাঁটাই [{3} (Three)] Miscommunication created from poor labour relations may cause misunderstanding, which may cause industrial unrest & anarchy. Such incident happened on February 2017 in Savar area of Dhaka. The daily newspaper Kaler-Kantha covered this event in their news article on 18 February 2017. For violating discipline in a foreign investors garment factory, 165 workers were suspended & 46 were dismissed. These labours made strike by stopping production from February 7 -10. They also beat up a superior supervisor & smashed a lot of furniture.
  5. 5. 7 | P a g e The workers complained that, an assistant production manager Nurul Tipu Islamsexually harassed a female sewing operator on January 6. When this news spread through the factory, the workers became any & start violence. But the employer party said something different. Managing director of the factory Mohammad Rafiqul Islamstrongly denied the following sexual harassment complaint. He said the violence & strike happened only because that the employer could not pay the due wages of the worker in time which was 7 February. What happened here was a violent strike & stoppage of production. May be the complaint & accusation by the workers was true, or maybe it was just a rumor. On the other hand, maybe the explanation & reason by the employer was true, or maybe not. However, unrest was created & some property was destroyed. Primary sufferers were the employer for the loss of property. And ultimate sufferers were those workers who got dismissed & arrested. In conclusion we can see that, all this happened only because of poor labour relation in that factory. If the labour relations were good, there would a clear communication channel. The delay of payment of wage would be communicated between workers & managers. And also the unpleasant rumor of harassment did not spread. Also the violence & destruction could be prevented. Link: http://www.kalerkantho.com/online/national/2017/02/18/465260 [{4} (Four)] Poor labour relations may lead to unfair labour practices by the employers. On the other hand, good industrial or labour relations encourage following fair labour policies & labour laws. Labour law cannot be applicable in poor labour relations. The online Bangla daily newspapers banglatribune.com & banglanews24.com published a news article regarding such issue on 24 January 2017. An sweater factory at Narayanganj named Cronin sacked 928 workers all on a sudden without any previous notice on 4 January. In respond, those workers assembled & started protest rally & marching. They brought accusation toward the owner that the employer party violated & disobeyed the section 26 of the BD labour act 2006 by sacking the workers without early notice.
  6. 6. 8 | P a g e But the management showed the reason for such sacking is the change of new technology in their factory production process. In concussion we understand that, among other effects of poor labour relations, unfair labour practices is one. In good labour relations, both parties of workers & employer follow fair labour policy & labour acts. Link: http://www.banglanews24.com/national/news/bd/549681.details & http://www.banglatribune.com/country/news/175873/%E0%A6%A8%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F%E0%A6%A3%E0%A6%97%E0%A6%9E%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%9C%E0%A7%87- %E0%A6%B8%E0%A7%8B%E0%A7%9F%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%9F%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0-%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%96%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A8%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F- %E0%A7%AF%E0%A7%A8%E0%A7%AE-%E0%A6%B6%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%AE%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%95-%E0%A6%9B%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%81%E0%A6%9F%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%87 [{5} (Five)] Poor labour relations may even lead to suicide of workers. Due to poor labour relations, management as well as employers becomes unable to know some serious problems like stress at workplace, because employer & workers do not have enough scope to communicate to each other. Among various issues like depression may arise, which ultimately causes suicide attempts of labours. In May 2010, such incident occurred in China at the iPhone manufacturing factory of Foxconn where 13 workers attempted suicide due to bad working condition there at the plant. It was a big news article at the renowned online newspaper dailymail.co.uk under reference article – 1282163 on 28 May 2010. The suicide bid came the day after another employee jumped to his death, bringing the total number of deaths this year to ten. And a 25-year-old worker, surnamed Chen, slit his wrists at
  7. 7. 9 | P a g e the firm's production base in southern China. Also Mr. Chen, who began working at the production base in southern China in March, was treated in time to save his life. The spate of apparent suicides threw a spotlight on the labour practices of Foxconn, part of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, which includes Apple, Hewlett Packard & Sony Ericsson among its clients. Apple & other clients have said they investigated working conditions at Foxconn, which has faced criticism for its harsh & secretive corporate culture. The employees manufacture products for the world's leading computer & phone companies in round-the-clock shifts. The man who jumped to his death was one of 420,000 employees based in Shenzhen who lived inside the factory complex. The 23-year-old worker from Gansu province jumped to his death from the seventh floor of a dormitory building. Hours before the latest death, Chairman Terry Gou toured the company's sprawling facilities & vowed to take sweeping action to prevent more deaths. China's official Xinhua news agency said the company was training 100 mental health counselors & installing 1.5 million sq meters of nets to stop workers from jumping. Mr. Gou said: 'Although this seems like a dumb measure, at least it could save a lifeshould anyone else fall.' Labour groups said the rash of apparent suicides has exposed the harsh working conditions at the huge plant. They also said “it is a clear sign of lousy relationship between the workers & the
  8. 8. 10 | P a g e authority”. Li Ping, secretary general of the Shenzhen municipal government, said that the pressure of being away from home with little care from society was part of a complex set of factors behind the employee suicides. He said the government was joining with the police & Foxconn to consider a range of ideas, including building up sports & cultural facilities to improve the living environment. In conclusion, based on the following news, we can say that it all happened due to bad labour relations. If the labour relations at the following establishment were good, the management could know this problem of stress & depressions. And also could prevent this from happening. Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1282163/China-Foxconn-iPhone-factory-crisis-13th-suicide-bid-employee.html Ultimately we can realize based on above real life discussions that, due to poor labour relations & the absence of sound labour relations some problems arise like labour dissatisfaction, workers unrest, violent strikes, outside provocateurs, production stoppage, miscommunication, misunderstanding, unfair policy, disobeying laws, & ignorance of collective bargains which hamper the progress of the industry. Recommendation Well labour relations can be developed by following some solutions:  Workers should establish trade unions & rely on them to serve their interest. And also the owner party should support this for the welfare of both parties.  The owner party should know the Bangladesh Labour Code very well & respect it during hiring, managing, firing workers.  Both workers & owners party should work on creating Participation Committee to establish communication channels.  Trade unions should be workers oriented instead of political influenced.  Instead of starting strike, violence, lock-out; workers should use their representatives to make peaceful collective bargain to achieve their rights.
  9. 9. 11 | P a g e  Instead of calling out the Industrial Police, the owners should approach to the workers with collective bargain proposal to avoid violence.  The owners associations i.e. BGMEA & BKMEA should monitor their members whether they are maintaining fair labour policies.  The government should manage & apply Labour Laws strictly in all the industries especially readymade garments industry. If all the parties involved with industrial relations follow the above solutions, the existing poor labour relations can be overcome. Conclusion The readymade garments industry acts as the backbone of our economy and as a catalyst for the development of our country. We take pride in the sector that has been fetching billions of dollars as export earnings and creating jobs for millions of people in the country. The “Made in Bangladesh” tag has also brought glory for Bangladesh, making it a prestigious brand across the globe. Bangladesh, which was once termed by cynics a “bottomless basket”, has now become a “basket full of wonders.” The country with its limited resources has been maintaining 6% annual average GDP growth rate and has brought about remarkable social and human development. Despite the epic growth of our readymade garments industry, and its bright prospects, challenges are still there. One of the biggest challenges currently faced by our RMG industry is to ensure workplace safety and labour dissatisfaction and bad relationship between workers & owners. Ultimately we can say that, if we want to see the continuous progress of the readymade garments industry, good relationship between workers & owners must be maintained. And the both parties should be working on well functioned trade unions as well as peaceful collective bargaining for overcoming the current poor labour relations between them. Prepared by: Md. Rezaul Kabir, East West University, Bangladesh

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