Industrial Relations in Bangladesh

Industrial Relations in Bangladesh

Executive Summary:

Industrial relations is used to denote the collective relationships between management and the workers. Traditionally, the term industrial relations is used to cover such aspects of industrial life as trade unionism, collective bargaining, workers’ participation in management, discipline and grievance handling, industrial disputes and interpretation of labor laws and rules and code of conduct.

The term industrial relations explain the relationship between employees and management which stem directly or indirectly from union-employer relationship.

“Theoretical Framework”

According to NCL (The National Commission on Labor), industrial relations affect not merely the interests of the two participants- labor and management, but also the economic and social goals to which the State address itself.

Industrial relations has become one of the most delicate and complex problems of modern industrial society. Industrial progress is impossible without cooperation of labors and harmonious relationships. Therefore, it is in the interest of all to create and maintain good relations between employees (labor) and employers (management). There are advantages of good Industrial relations and its impact in the industry as well as in the society. The healthy industrial relations is the key to the progress and success. Their significance and objectives may be discussed as under –

To safeguard the interest of labor and management by securing the highest level of mutual understanding and good-will among all those sections in the industry which participate in the process of production.

To avoid industrial conflict and develop harmonious relations, which are an essential factor in the productivity of workers and the industrial progress
of a country. To raise productivity to a higher level in an era of full employment by lessening the tendency to high turnover and frequency absenteeism.

To eliminate or minimize the number of strikes, lockouts by providing reasonable wages, improved living and working conditions, said fringe benefits. To improve the economic conditions of workers in the existing state of industrial managements and political government.

Socialization of industries by making the state itself a major employer
Vesting of a proprietary interest of the workers in the industries in which they are employed.
Good industrial relations ensure continuity of production. The resources are fully utilized which resulting in the maximum possible production.
Good industrial relations reduce the industrial disputes. It provides adequate satisfaction by securing basic human urges or motivations.
Good industrial relations improve the morale of the employees. Every worker feels that he is a co-owner of the gains of industry.
The main object of industrial relation is a complete mental revolution of workers and employees. Both should think themselves as partners of the industry and the role of workers in such a partnership should be recognized. On the other hand, workers must recognize employer’s authority. It will naturally have impact on production because they recognize the interest of each other.

Good industrial relations are maintained on the basis of cooperation and recognition of each other and reduce the wastage of man, material and machines and thus national interest is protected. An industrial dispute may be defined as a conflict or difference of opinion between management and workers on the terms of employment. It is a disagreement between an employer and employees’ representative; usually a trade union, over pay and other working conditions and can result in industrial actions. When an industrial dispute occurs, both the parties, that is the management and the workmen, try to pressurize each other. The management may resort to lockouts while the workers may resort to strikes, picketing or gherao’s. According to the Bangladesh Labor Act (BLA) 2006 Sec 2(62) Industrial disputes means the dispute arising of appointing or not appointing person or service condition or work conditions or environment between the owner and the worker or among the workers.

The causes of industrial disputes can be broadly classified into two categories: economic and non-economic causes. The economic causes will include issues relating to compensation like wages, bonus, allowances, and conditions for work, working hours, leave and holidays without pay, unjust layoffs and retrenchments. The non economic factors will include victimization of workers, ill treatment by staff members, sympathetic strikes, political factors, indiscipline etc. Wages and allowances: Since the cost of living index is increasing, workers generally bargain for higher wages to meet the rising cost of living index and to increase their standards of living. Personnel and retrenchment: The personnel and retrenchment have also been an important factor which accounted for disputes.

Indiscipline and violence: It is evident that the number of disputes caused by indiscipline. Bonus: Bonus has always been an important factor in industrial disputes. Leave and working hours: Leaves and working hours have not been so important causes of industrial disputes.

Miscellaneous: The miscellaneous factors include:-
– Inter/Intra Union Rivalry
– Charter of Demands
– Work Load
– Standing orders/rules/service conditions/safety measures
– Non-implementation of agreements and awards etc.


There is a proverb, “Prevention is better than cure”. Organization should comply with local law and educate own resources for improvement of Industrial Relations. Knowledge based training can put extra effort.

Cost cutting has become the top concern of any established Organization. So, outsourcing any job to third party organization has become popular worldwide. Government should work for this and provide guideline for sourcing. Because, parent company is not responsible for third party resources if any issue arise. So here is scope for creating or amend policy. Third party resources give less scope for Trade Union and CBA practices which may create vulnerable situation in our Industry.

It’s our own responsibility to comply with law in every aspect in our Industry. Social awareness may helpful for this.

Grievance Handling Process

Grievance means, “cause of uneasiness and complaint; a wrong done and suffered; that which gives ground for remonstrance or resistance, as arising from injustice”. When we studied respective organizations, people from their unable to provide exact copy on Employee Grievance. Our discussion with them gave below mentioned typical scenario.

1. Procedure followed by BLA 20062. Grievances should be proceed by following HR prescribed Employee Grievance Procedure Form 3. The employee should complete a grievance procedure form with details. 4. Stages – 1) supervisor/line manager, 2) Head of Division 3) HR 4) Final stage, Top Mgt.


Openness of information is a kind of limitation. When we tried to seek information of respective establishment, it’s hard to get in written format. Also, we have to accept survey from unnamed employees from respective employees. Ministry should form a central information bank where every Organization’s HR policy will be archived.

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