InitiativesAt a Galence
Karmojibi Nari first started to work with formal sector workers in Tongi industrial area in 1991 and then in Narayanganj with the Adamjee Jute Mill workers, the pharmaceuticals workers and with the textile mills workers. In that time it was found that women’s presence in and access to the trade unions was very insignificant. KN realized the importance of building women’s leadership and representation in the trade unions.
In Nineties when the garments industry took off, issues of women workers gained greater visibility. This provided another ground for KN to work with women in the formal sector. In 1995 the issue of MFA (Multi-Fibre Agreements) came up and it was heard that the garments industry of Bangladesh would be badly affected and workers particularly women workers would lose their job. In that time many skilled women workers started going back to the villages or engaged in the informal sector. MFA was phased out in 2005. In 2006, KN played a tremendous role in signing MOU of Tripartite Agreement among the Government, Owner and Workers. Since then KN has been monitoring the progress of the MOU. KN was also a part of the campaign for “Make Trade Fair” to promote the idea that “business is not only for profit”.
From the very beginning KN educates the workers that they are the integral part of the industry. KN uses the slogan that is “Sromik Bachao, Shilpa Bachao” (Save the Workers, Save the Industry) and believes that `Work with Dignity’ (Srom Kokhono Shoshta Noy Sromic Doyar Patro Noy). Using this education and awareness the workers refrains from the negative attitude of violence. Rather they started disciplined protests and demands of their rights, decent wages, and decent working conditions. In this way KN showed the constructive role of workers in furthering the interests of the industry. Through these programs KN can build up the leadership capacity among the women workers of garments industries. Thus at present KN works with 10,000 women workers of RMG.
During its long journey, KN do not work only with the women workers of RMG about their rights and responsibilities, but also sensitizes the mid and top level managements of the RMG sector to ensure decent workplace for better livelihood and increase productivity. In these trainings and discussions issues like gender, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), environment friendly work place, legal rights of worker, rights of disable workers, Labour law, etc are discussed. Moreover, KN maintains a good working relationship with the BGMEA and BKMEA in order to increase the synergies in improving the social compliance status in the RMG sector. KN is the member of Steering Committee of Multi Stakeholder Forum Bangladesh (MFB) for garments and member of Social Compliance Forum, headed by the Ministry of Commerce, GOB. Besides, KN organizes National level Seminar every year with the Ministry of Labour and Employment to observe the International Labour day – the May Day. At the same time KN works in the factory level with the Managers and workers of RMG to activate the Participation Committee, (Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OHS) Committees in RMGs and leathers factories.