Minister for Labour and Employment and Expatriates' Welfare & Overseas Employment, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain has urged the garment owners to allow formation of workers' union in their units with a view to curbing the prevailing labour unrest in the sector.
The minister was speaking at a view exchange meeting on 'prevention of rumours and conspiracy in ready -made garment (RMG) units of the country' at BGMEA auditorium Tuesday.
"A factory without a workers' union is just like a boat without radar," Mr. Hossain said.
Mr Hossain also assured the factory owners that the government would manage financial assistance to train up labourers to deal with the trade union.
President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Owners Association (BGMEA), Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin has opposed the minister's opinion saying that allowing trade union in the RMG units would be suicidal for the sector.
"We have allowed 130 factories to form trade unions as pilot project but most of those factories have either been closed down or about to be closed, so we cannot depend on trade unions in our factories," BGMEA president said.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and dozens of leaders of different trade unions have also emphasised on allowing trade unions in the RMG units.
They said that only workers' participation can ensure an amicable solution to any problems.
However, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Aabul Kalam Azad and some other owners association leaders have strongly opposed trade unions.
"Bangladesh is the target of its competitors in RMG sector, so the competing countries banking on the trade union system may hatch conspiracy to destroy our largest export earning sector," Azad said.
President of National Garment Workers Welfare Association, Salim Reja said that only close relation between workers and owners can bring down workers' unrest. So the sector needs trade union facility, he added.
He also urged the law enforcement agencies to try to find out the culprits who instigate the workers through spreading rumours.
Chairman, Standing Committee on Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment spoke among others in the meeting.