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Bangaldesh: Trade unions missing in RMG factories

In Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector, 97.5 per cent of the factories do not have trade unions. Workers’ organisations continue to remain either weak or non-functional in garment factories.

Of the factories, about 50 per cent are found to be small, 42.5 per cent are medium and 7.4 per cent are large. One-third of parliament members are garment owners. Workers are subjected to rough behavior by top management.

The country’s garment sector has done exceptionally well in the post-Rana Plaza period but garment owners have to be pro-active to do better. Among the future challenges is achieving the 50 billion dollar export target by 2021. Factory owners say, they are under pressure in the face of global competition. They say 70 per cent of their profit is taken away by the brands. They say that though trade union activities in the garment sector are discouraged, workers’ welfare committees in factories work to protect the interests of workers. They say, post-Rana Plaza expenses were involved in making factories compliant, while now owners are trying to convert them into green factories. But factory owners concede that workers should be given most credit for the success of the country’s garment sector.