Samata Leather Complex Ltd.

Social Compliance

Improve working conditions

The Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006, consolidates and amends the laws relating to employment of labour, relations between workers and employers, payment of wages and compensation for injuries to workers, and other matters related to labor.

As companies expand their manufacturing and sourcing capabilities around the world, supply chain workplace conditions are increasingly scrutinized, particularly in developing countries. The conditions under which products are manufactured have become a dimension of quality and an important part of the business value proposition. The lack of a process for managing risks related to supply chain social compliance can have a direct impact on a company’s financial results, especially for those organizations in consumer markets where image and brand names are critical assets.

The main Issues of social compliance

The first is child labor. Various countries have different definitions of the minimum age for working, and some of them also have what you call – kind of like a youth program – so at a certain age you could be working and doing certain tasks, but you’re not allowed to do all things. So there are a couple of definitions for child labor there.
According to the Labor Law of Bangladesh 2006, the minimum legal age for employment is 14.

The other is forced labor. The Bangladesh Labor Act of 2006 applies both to permanent workers and workers employed through a contractor. Under the Act, a contractor who employs workers is treated as an employer and is liable for any violations of the provisions of the law. The Act provides a number of protections related to the minimum age of employment, minimum wages, working hours, compensation for work-related injuries, wage manipulation, health and safety, the welfare and working environment of employees, and other related issues. Importantly, the Labor Act holds every employer, including contractors and indirect employers, liable for the payment of workers’ wages, and similarly holds principals employing workers through one or several contractors accountable for the payment of any compensation that would have been due, had the workers been employed directly by the principal. Furthermore, the Labor Act establishes that where a labor offence is committed by a corporate body, every agent of that corporation will be held liable for the commission of the offence, unless he or she can prove that the offence was committed without his or her knowledge or consent, or that he or she exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of
the offence.

Extreme safety hazard. Labour Act 2006 and, particularly, introduces several provisions aimed at improving workplace safety.
Among others, the amended legislation now requires the creation of safety committees in factories with 50 workers or more, the establishment of workplace Health Center in workplaces with over 5000 employees and safety welfare officers in workplaces with more than 500. Under the amendments compensation for work-related deaths is provided after two years in employment, compared to the current three years period. Workplaces of over 500 employers are required to arrange for and cover the cost of treatment of occupational diseases. The labor inspectorate is given new responsibilities to inspect safety and health conditions of workplaces and conduct on-the-spot inspections.

Physically abused – that’s not okay, and that might turn up during an interview where the employee says that his supervisor will hit him if he doesn’t produce a certain number of pieces in a day.
Section 195 of the Bangladesh Labor Act (2006, amended 2013) outlaws numerous “unfair labor practices.” For example, no employer shall, “dismiss, discharge, remove from employment, or threaten to dismiss, discharge, or remove from employment a worker, or injure or threaten to injure him in respect of his employment by reason that the worker is or proposes to become, or seeks to persuade any other person to become, a member or officer of a trade union.”

The final issue would be attempted bribery during the audit. So some suppliers will feel the need to offer the auditors money in order to pass the audit and, in most cases, that’s probably going to make them fail.