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What is law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. Laws are made by governments, and nowadays more specifically, by parliaments. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus ticket to trading on derivatives markets. Property law regulates the transfer and title of personal property and real property. Trust law applies to assets held for investment and financial security. Tort law allows claims for compensation if a person's property is harmed. If the harm is criminalized in legislation, criminal law offers means by which the state can prosecute the perpetrator. Constitutional law provides a framework for the creation of law, the protection of human rights and the election of political representatives. Administrative law is used to review the decisions of government agencies. International law governs affairs between sovereign states in activities ranging from trade to military action. Writing in 350BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, "The rule of law is better than the rule of any individual.

2.Overview of Bangladesh labour laws

The labour law system is more than a century old in Bangladesh. The first labour law was enacted in the Indian sub-continent during the British period, in 1881. Subsequently, the British Government introduced several laws concerning different labour issues, e.g., working hour, employment of children, maternity benefit, trade union activities, wage, etc. The Factories Act (1881), Workmen's Compensation Act (1923), Trade Unions Act (1926), Trade Disputes Act (1929), Payment of Wages Act (1936), Maternity Benefit Act (1939), and the Employment of Children Act (1938) were remarkable labour laws enacted during the British period. After the separation of the Indian sub-continent in 1947, almost all the laws during the pre-partition period were kept in force with some modifications and amendments, in the form of administrative rules, by the Pakistan Government. After the independence in 1971, the Bangladesh government retained the previous laws through the Bangladesh Laws Order (President's Order No. 48). It also enacted additional laws in response to the changing circumstances and needs of the working class and the country. In 2006, the country adopted the revised Bangladesh Labour Law of 2006 or BLL. The BLL is fairly comprehensive and progressive. The law is a consolidation and updating of the 25 separate acts. The comprehensive nature of the law can immediately be gleaned from its coverage -conditions of service and employment, youth employment, maternity benefit, health and hygiene, safety, welfare, working hours and leave, wages and payment, workers' compensation for injury, trade unions and industrial relations, disputes, labour court, workers' participation in companies profits, regulation of employment and safety of dock workers, provident funds, apprenticeship, penalty and procedure, administration, inspection, etc. The BLL is also considered an advance because it removes certain ambiguities in the old and diverse labour acts and aligns

the labour law system with the ILO core conventions. On the removal of ambiguities, the definition of a worker is now very specific. Another example: the exclusion under the term wages of the following items -- expense for housing facilities like lighting and water supply, employers contribution to the provident fund, traveling allowances and other sums paid to worker that are needed to cover work-related expenses. The BLL is also an advance because of its wider coverage, for example, workers and staff of hospitals, nursing homes and even nongovernmental organizations are now covered by the law.

Also, certain welfare and social benefits have been improved or instituted, e.g., death benefit (financial support to family of deceased worker), application of provident fund benefit to all workers in the private sector, expansion of maternity benefit from 12 to 16 weeks, adoption of group insurance for establishments with 200 or more workers, and increased employee compensation for work-related injury, disability and death. On the ILO core conventions, Bangladesh has ratified the following International Labour Conventions (ILCs): ILC 29 (Forced Labour) ILC 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize), ILC 98 (Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining), ILC 100 (Equal Remuneration), ILC 105 (Abolition of Forced Labour), ILC 111 (Discrimination in Employment and Occupation), and ILC 182 (Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour).

3.About Adolescent law in Bangladesh labour code-2006

The only core convention not ratified by Bangladesh is ILC 138 (Minimum Age Convention). However, the BLA provides that the minimum age to work is 14 (although a special clause states that children between the ages of 12 and 14 may be employed to do light work that does not endanger their health, development and education). The Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 is one of the very recent laws with major overhauling changes in the field of Labour Legislation. The laws which this code has replaced were made mostly during the British Colonial regime & Pakistan Period and they were as many as 50 in number. In many cases, these laws were outdated, scattered, inconsistent & often overlapping each other. In 1992, a Labour Law Commission was formed by the Government of the day which examined 44 Labour Laws and recommended to repeal 27 Laws & it prepared a draft Labour Code in 1994. This draft of Labour Code, 1994 underwent series of changes in its vetting stages & finally the Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 was passed by the Parliament on October 11, 2006. Section 353 of the Code has repealed 25 previous Labour related laws. There are still 25 valid laws dealing with Labour & Industrial issues have not been repealed or consolidated and as such the Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 although a Consolidated Act was not consolidated all the laws in the filed. Though the Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 was enacted in 2006, still there are some practical problems and shortcomings relating to Labour Code, 2006. Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA): CBA is a notion which improves the conditions of working life. According to Hoxie- "Collective Bargaining (CB) is a

mode of fixing the terms of employment by means of bargaining between an organized body of employees and employers or an association of employers usually acting through organized agents." CB is a major institutional mechanism for resolving the conflicts among the interested parties. CB is the combination of two words: (a) Combination (i.e. Jointly) & (b) Bargaining (i.e. offer & counter offer to reach a settlement) So we can say that CB is a technique of resolving the existing conflicts between the employee and employer. The object/end of collective bargaining is invariably to harmonise labour relations, to promote industrial peace by creating conditions whereby labour and capital are put on equal footing, while negotiating with the employer. For a successful CBA, some conditions have to be fulfilled. But it's a matter of sorrow that most of the conditions are not followed in Bangladesh. However, the preconditions for successful CBA are following as: Democratic Attitude of the managements towards the workers & their unions should be ensured. But unfortunately, in most of the present context/situation in industry, it is seen that the management side always try to dominate the workers as well as their unions. Mutual trust, confidence & respect between the management and the trade union activities should be maintained.

Government must not interfere in the internal affairs of trade union and collective bargaining. Devoted an unbriable leadership of the CBA or Trade Union (TU) should be encouraged. But, in most of the situation, it is seen that the management authority offers bribe, or force to take bribe to the CBA, if the CBA doesn't want to take it willingly. Workers' right to strike and collective bargaining must be ensured. Need based training programme should be organized for increasing/enhancing the knowledge of bargaining skill of the TU Leaders as well as workers. But in practically, we see/notice that most of the employers always try to dominate the workers as well as the TU. Because of it, the employers or management authorities don't arrange need based training programmes for the workers as well as TU. To ensure that CB functions properly unfair labour practices mentioned in Sec 195 & 196 of Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 should be avoided & abandoned by both sides, and so on. Practical Problems relating to CBA: As we know that there is no equal footing between employers & employee in Bangladesh. The reasons (i.e. practical problems) for weak bargaining position of workers are given below: The frequent attempts by the ruling party (i.e. employers), to buy off or victimized trade union leaders by offering bribe to them. The unfavorable or authority attitude of the management. A weak industrial based and absence of real democratic practice in Bangladesh. Politicization of TU, inter

and intra rival reach, opportunism of trade union leaders, absence of experienced TU Leaders at plant level etc. Practical Problem regarding the Labour Court in Bangladesh. There are some practical problems regarding the Labour Court in Bangladesh which are given below: The number of Labour Court available in Bangladesh is not adequate as compare to the volume of cases. So far I know that there are only Seven Labour Courts in Bangladesh. Out of Seven Labour Courts, three are in Dhaka, two in Chittagong, one each respectively in Rajshahi & Khulna. Actually, it is not possible to maintain many labour related laws with a few numbers of courts. So the number of labour court should be increased as compared to the volumes of cases. Government has to take necessary initiatives in this regard. The Chairman and the Members of the Court are not provided with reasonable facilities. So, it demotivates/discourages them than as such hampers the early disposal of cases. So, a standard remuneration package along with admissible benefits should be offered to the Chairman and Members of the Court. It is believed that if lucrative remuneration is offered to someone, the speed of his work is also increased rapidly. The Chairman & the Members of Labour Court are part time appointing. I think that this is the main barrier to the backlogs of cases. Because part time appointed Chairman & the Members don't pay proper attention in this regard. So, the Govt. along with other organizations should come forward in this regard. It is said in section 218 (11) of the Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006 that- "The Judgment of the Labour Appellate Tribunal shall be delivered within a period of not more than 60 days following the filing of the appeal. Provided that, no such judgment shall be rendered invalid by reason only of any delay in its delivery." Because of this provision, to get a judgment, four to five years are expired. Because, there is a chance of time petition by the parties especially employers. Because of this lengthy process, the workers are reluctant to prefer an appeal. So, I think, there should be included a clause and that is - the Judgment of the Labour Appellate Tribunal shall be delivered within a period of not more than 60 days following the filling of the appeal. Provided that, a further period of one year may be extended in this regard i.e. to deliver judgment. The financial inability prevents the workers from filling cases against management. The frequent shifting of the date of the hearing makes aggrieved workers very frustrated. The Government and other relevant agencies are reluctant in paying proper attention to the problem of Labour Court. This is another reason for the barrier to the backlogs of cases. So to overcome this problem, the govt. along with

other relevant agencies should come forward with a view to paying proper attention in this regard. "Termination Clause" is a black law which is still now

remains in the Labour Code. "Termination simpliciter" is considered the safest step for the employer to remove a worker. Though it is the safest step, it is the most expensive method of removing a worker in the sense that the employer will have to give a four month's notice or wages in lieu of the same period and also compensation which is much higher compared to discharge and dismissal. Even though, there is a chance of employer to exercise his ill motive. Because, by this clause, a wide power is given to the employer for the purpose of removing a worker from his work. Now, a question arises whether four month notice is or wages in lieu of the same period sufficient to remove a worker from his service without any reasonable ground. A worker may not able to find out a suitable work for him within four months. Because of this termination clause, the employers try to use the great loopholes relating to Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006. So, this clause should be removed from the Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006. Though it was held in U.B.Datt & Co. vs. Workmen, AIR 1953 SC 411 that if the termination of service was a colorable exercise of the power or as a result of victimization or unfair labour practice, the labour court or tribunal would have jurisdiction to intervene and set aside such termination. Nevertheless, most of the time the workers don't get natural justice (i.e. do not get back his job). That's why; I firmly believed that for the purpose of protecting the interest of workers, the 'termination clause' should remove from the Labour Code. Problems of Trade Union (TU) in Bangladesh: For violating the interest of workers, only employer is not liable. Beside employer, worker as well as TU Leader is also liable for it. Some problems relating to TU in Bangladesh are frequently observed in the present context of Bangladeshi industries. These problems are given below: Lack of requisite leadership including accountability of the TU leaders, competency or qualification of TU. It is mainly happened due to ignorance as well as less education of TU leaders. Because of it, need based training programme should be organized for increasing/ enhancing the knowledge of bargaining skill of the TU Leaders as well as workers. But in practically, we see/notice that most of the employers always try to dominate the workers as well as the TU. Because of it, the employers or management authorities don't arrange need based training programmes for the workers as well as TU. Politicization of TU. It is also an important problem regarding the present situation at Bangladeshi Industries. Most of the time, it is seen in the industry that a particular class of worker only get enjoy benefit. It is occurred mainly because of politicization of TU. Fragmentation (e.g. every CBA Leaders want to reform different TU). So, the workers as well as TU Leaders should bear in mind that they don't do anything which violates the interest of workers. Limitation of the Labour

Administration & Inspection Office: Ministry of Labour & Manpower has some agencies or departments. Department of Inspection for Factories & Establishments is one of those. There are some limitation relating to the Department of Inspection for Factories & Establishments which are given below: Absence of provisions of inspecting factory construction works. To start activities, a factory has to fulfill some requirements. Say for example- prior written permission from the Chief Inspector (CI) is compulsory before setting up a factory as per the Labour Code. The duty of Engineering Wing is to approve the plan which is attached. If plan is ok, then CI will provide a certificate of registration to the concerned employers who are want to make a factory. As per section 326 of Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006- "If an application for permission accompanied by the plans & specification is sent to the CI & no order is communicated to the applicant within two months from the date of its receipt by the Chief Inspector, the permission applied for in the said application shall be deemed to have been granted." If the CI is refused to grant permission, then the aggrieved party, within 60 days of the date of such refusal, can appeal to the Government i.e. higher authorities of CI. The main problem is in Bangladesh that there is no authority to supervise the soil test engineer. There is also no authority to supervise whether the tasks are implemented according to plan or not. That's why there must be needed a checks and balance from the administration. Absence of the Provisions of cancellation of the factory registration & license: As we know that the CI issues the certificate of Registration on the ground of fulfillment of some requirements. If the requirements are not fulfilled, then CI is not empowered to cancel the registration. That's why the CI has given a power to cancel the registration by taking permission from the Labour Court. Because the employers think that once got registration is everything. No one can cancel their factories' registration. So, in this regard the CI should be given a power to cancel the registration. Inspection office (IO) lacks manpower: Most of the time, IO is failed to execute the laws relating to factories. Their argument is the 'lack of manpower'. There are 30 lakh shops, 170 tea gardens & 60 ship breaking yard industry in Bangladesh. But there are only 200 inspectors in the department of inspection for factories and establishments. Literally, it is impossible to complete huge volume of works with such poor manpower. IO thinks that if the number of IO can increase from 200 to 500, then it can carry out its responsibilities properly. Lack of provisions of receiving Complaints & their disposals of at the Inspection Office: IO is only liable the manpower for their failure.

But there are many problems the factory which remedy is lengthy. IO can do it-"If, after they listening to the workers' grievance (e.g. about wages) and gives order to the employer, then the employer is bound to pay wages to the worker. Problems relating to the multi-standard definition of child labour in Bangladesh: A 'child' has been defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children (UNCRC) as a person under the age of 18 years. This includes infancy, early childhood, middle childhood & adolescence. This is the universally accepted definition of children though the convention allows every society to consider its own laws and customs. ILO Convention 182 similarly recognizes all people under the age of 18 as a child. This definition is gaining acceptance all over the world. ' ILO Convention 182' is a convention for the Worst Forms of Child Labour. It was ratified by Bangladesh in 2001. The laws of Bangladesh have not followed a consistent pattern of definition of the child. For example, the 'Employment of Children Act, 1938' has defined child as a person who has not completed fifteen years. But it is said in section 353 of the Labour Code, 2006 that the law no 2 & 7 (i.e. The Children/Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933; The Employment of Children Act, 1938; The Factories Act, 1965 are repealed. But 'The Children Act, 1974' was not repealed. It means this Act is shill now enforced. It is said in 'The Children Act, 1974' that child is a person who has not completed 16 years. Moreover, the Contract Act, 1872 & the Majority Act defines a child as less than 18 years of age. But as per section 2(63) of our Labour Code, 2006- "Child" means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. That means, the definition of child is inconsistent. The condition of the Bangladeshi working children can easily be presumed from this multi-standard definition of child under the laws of the country. Most of these difference amongst the legislation are on the age of the working children during appointment. Most of the child labour laws do not correspond with the definition of UNCRC and differ amongst themselves. So, it is important to develop a uniform definition of child in line with UNCRC that will be applicable for all the purposes.

4.Conditions of employment

(1) In every establishment employment of workers and other matters incidental thereto shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter: Provided that any establishment may have its own rules regulating employment of workers, but no such rules shall be less favorable to any worker than the provisions of this chapter. (2) The service rules in any establishment as mentioned in the proviso to subsection (1) shall be submitted for approval by the employer of such establishment to the chief inspector who shall, within six months of the receipt thereof make such order therein as he deems fit. (3) No service rules as mentioned in sub-section (2) shall be put into effect except with the approval of the chief Inspector. (4) Any person aggrieved by the order of the chief Inspector may, within thirty days of the receipt of the order, may prefer appeal to the Government and the order of the Government on such appeal shall be final. (5) Nothing provided in sub-section (2) shall apply to an establishment which is owned by or under management or control the Government.


5.Adolescent law The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933 declares void an agreement to pledge the labour of a child below 15 years. The parent or guardian of the child and the employer making the agreement are both guilty under the Act. An agreement to pledge the labour of child means an agreement, written or oral, express or implied, whereby the parent or guardian of a child, in return for any payment or benefit received or to be received by him, undertakes to cause or allow the services of a child to be utilized in any employment. Young workers The Factories Act of 1965 fixes the minimum age of children as 12 years for employment in factories. No child is allowed to work in a factory unless he is certified physically fit, and children between 16 and 18 years of age not certified fit as such, are treated as children under the provisions of the Act. The Employment of Children Act 1938 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 15 in any occupation connected with transport of passengers, goods or mails by railway or involving the handling of goods within the limits of any port. It further prohibits the employment of children below 12 years in any workshop wherein the process of bidi (cigerett) making, carpet weaving, cement manufacture, cloth printing manufacture of matches and explosives, mica-cutting and depleting are carried on.

6.Employment of Adolescent:
Prohibition of employment of children and adolescent Provisions of the new labour law: Section 34 of the new labour law creates a bar on the appointment of children in any establishment. The section states as follows:

No child shall be required or allowed to work in any factory. Adolescent workers to carry token: An adolescent who has completed fourteen years of age shall not be required or allowed to work in a factory unless:

1. A certificate of fitness granted to her/him under section 68 is in the custody of the manager of the factory; 2. Such adolescent carries a token - giving a reference to such certificate while he is at work; 3. Nothing in this section shall be applicable to an adolescent employed in any occupation or in a factory as an apprentice for vocational training; 4. If the Government considers appropriate, it may as well waive the enforcement of the pre-conditions of the employment of an adolescent for a particular period. Child : In the present law child means a person who has not yet completed his fourteen years of age. Adolescent: Adolescent means a person who has completed her/his fourteen years but has not completed her/his eighteen years of age.

Changes in the present law: In the earlier laws, the term child was used to mean a person who had not completed 16 years of age and the term Young Person was used to mean and include both the child and adolescent. Under the earlier law, even a child could have obtained a fitness certificate to get a job in a factory. But in the new law, child means a person who has completed her/his fourteen years of age and adolescent means the person who has completed sixteen years and has not completed eighteen years of age. The present law specifically prohibits

employment of children and makes a provision for fitness certificates for the adolescent only. Exception : A child who has completed twelve years of age, may be employed in such light work as not to endanger his health and development or interfere with his education. Provided that the hours of work of such child, where he is school going, shall be so arranged that they do not interfere with his school attendance. (as per section 44) 7.Certificate of Fitness: Provisions of the new labour law ( adolescent) Section 37 of the new labour law requires an adolescent to obtain a fitness certificate to be employed in any occupation or in a factory. A registered medical practitioner shall, on the application of an adolescent or her/his parent or guardian accompanied by a document signed by the manager of a factory that such person will be employed therein if certified to be fit for the work he or she has proposed to be employed for, issue a certificate of fitness. Such certificate shall be valid only for the subsequent 12 months. The employer shall pay the fees for obtaining such certificate and the fees cannot be realized from the parents or guardians of the worker.

8.Working hours of adolescent

Provisions of the new labour law: Section 41 of the new labour law deals with provisions relating to the working hours of the adolescent. As per the section following points are important and relevant for the RMG industry.

No adolescent shall be allowed or required to work 5 hours a day and 30 hours a week No adolescent shall be allowed or required to work between the hours from 7 pm to 7 am In every factory, the work of an adolescent shall be limited up to two shifts and no such shift shall be more than7 and a half hours An adolescent can only be appointed in a single relay and such relay shall be changed only with the prior approval of the inspector for once in a month.

9.Restriction of appointment of adolescent in certain work

Provisions of the new labour law: Section 39, 40 and 42 of the new labour law reports some activities for which the employment of the adolescent is strictly prohibited. As per the above mentioned sections, the employment of the adolescent are strictly restricted for the following activities: Cleaning of the machinery while it is in motion. Lubrication or for other adjustment operation of the machinery while it is in motion. Any work in-between the moving parts of a machine. Any work under ground or under water.