STITCH Bangladesh Roundtable Discussion on Freedom of Association and Social Dialogue
‘Social dialogue and freedom association are interlinked, one cannot be ensured without the other, and both are indispensable for an improved industrial relationship and better business’ - said the speakers at the roundtable discussion on freedom of association and social dialogue. The participants also put emphasis on continuous shared responsibilities that should be delivered by especially government, industries owners, trade unions and brands.
The event, on 11 December 2022, was jointly organized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Bangladesh and STITCH Bangladesh Consortium, consisted of ETI, Mondiaal FNV and Fair Wear Foundation.
The participants of the event included representatives from the Government of Bangladesh, business associations (BGMEA), trade unions, global brands, UN organizations, international bi-lateral agencies, MSIs, embassies, etc.
At the event, Mr. Thijs Woudstra, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands delivered an opening speech while Mr. Nasir Uddin Ahmed, Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) and Additional Secretary of the Bangladesh Government gave the concluding remarks.
The main objectives of the roundtable discussion were to create space for bringing the industrial stakeholders together to discuss the status quo, areas of common interest and shared responsibilities of stakeholders on freedom of association and social dialogue, prioritize areas that can strengthen social dialogue in the RMG industry and create pathway to establish a semi-formal multi-stakeholder structure or platform and identify next steps to promote social dialogue and how different stakeholders may contribute.
Mr. Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director of ILO, facilitated the working sessions based on three guiding questions:
- How to systemically make RMG sector compliant on freedom of Association and align with Bangladesh Labour Act and international frameworks like ratified ILO core labour standards, UNGP, OECD Guidelines, GSP discussion?
- What are the key elements for strengthening social dialogue in the RMG sector at both national and workplace level?
- How may brands contribute and commit to an enabling environment for social dialogue?
Shading light on the existing situation, the participants also provided a set of recommendations to create an enabling environment to foster a culture of social dialogue and freedom of association, both at workplace level and at national level.