The Readymade Garments (RMG) industry of Bangladesh has been the key export industry and a main source of foreign exchange for the last 25 years. The sector rapidly became important in terms of employment, foreign exchange earnings and its contribution to the national economy. Currently the industry provides employment to about 3 million workers of whom 90% are women (EPB, 2007; BB Report, 2008). Notwithstanding the impressive success of the RMG sector, poor working conditions in the factories and the lack of Social compliance are serious concerns which have, since 2006, led to labour unrest and damage to institutions and properties. Indeed, working conditions in the RMG sector is substandard, and do not meet the Codes of Conducts (Qudus and Uddin, 1993). Recruitment policies are highly informal compared to western standards and there are no written formal contracts and appointment letters (Dasgupta S., 2002). Therefore they are vulnerable to losing their jobs at any time. Garments workers are embarrassed with long working hours or double consecutive shifts, personally unsafe work environment, poor working conditions, wage and gender discrimination (Kumar A., 2006). Long working hours without leave with breaks and compulsory overtime are common problems in this sector. Workers can be fired for refusing overtime. The level of wages is the most significant source of dissatisfaction for workers in the RMG industry. RMG owner often deny that they have the power to improve the wages or conditions of workers. Without full payment or being paid on time, worker often worry and are anxious about the future. This results in low work productivity and job dissatisfaction (Morshed, 2007). On the other hand, prospects of promotion in the RMG industry of Bangladesh are rare. The research suggests that there are many benefits from the introduction of modern HR and IR activities through the establishment of HRM or personnel management unit in the RMG sector. The government needs to pay much more attention to monitoring compliance. A modified Code of Conduct and an effective Compliance Monitoring Cell (CMC) are also required.
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