A new training initiative is launching in Bangladesh to strengthen workplace cooperation in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector.

The programme is part of a collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Bangladesh Institute of Management (BIM), and by the end of 2015 is expected to reach 2,700 workers and managers from 100 ready-made garment factories.

The capacity building activities, the ILO says, will focus on workers' representatives and mid-level managers, and will ensure they are better equipped to engage in meaningful dialogue and labour relations on workplace issues of mutual importance. They will include a series of two-day workshops and bring together equal number of workers' representatives and managers.

In all, 28 master trainers including seven management counsellors from BIM, who have been trained on effective workplace cooperation by ILO's International Training Centre (ITC) will carry out the training. Five training modules developed by the ITC and translated into Bangla will be used to support sessions.

The training will be implemented in technical collaboration with BIM and in partnership with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), National Coordination Committee for Workers' Education (NCCWE) and IndustriAll Bangladesh Council (IBC).

"The more the workers and employers engage in social dialogue the better for harmonious industrial relations and good workplace cooperation," says Srinivas Reddy, ILO country director for Bangladesh. "This training will help develop skills that will benefit the Bangladesh RMG sector and all who work in it."

Similar training activities will be held in collaboration with the BGMEA and the BKMEA while ILO says it is also in contact with the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) to introduce parallel capacity development activities for workers and managers in factories in the export processing zones (EPZ).

The governments of Norway and Denmark are providing financial support for the activities. 

In September, the ILO signed an agreement with the Government of Sweden to implement a US$5.4m five-year project on 'Promoting social dialogue and harmonious industrial relations in Bangladesh ready-made garment industry.' When it starts in early 2016, the ILO says this new initiative will further strengthen effective workplace cooperation in a further 500 RMG factories.

New US$5.4m scheme to boost Bangladesh worker rights