There can be no study of industrial relations without an analysis of industrial workers, who are the prime-movers of commerce and industry. Working class is made up of people who earn livelihood by selling physical or manual labor. This working class cannot control other factors of production such as land, capital and machinery. The owners buy their labor for a price, which is known as pay or wages. Carl Marx called the proletariat section of the community as working class.

The organized working class in Bangladesh is not very large. The country has long been ruled by the foreigners who did not set up strong industrial base in the country. They used it as a source of raw materials. In spite of limitations a good number of industries have been established since 1950. Most of the workers have come from the rural areas. Their socio-economic conditions are very poor. Most of them are living below the poverty level. Government has not yet formulated a sound labor policy to protect and promote the interest of the working class. Rather government takes the side of the employers in the name of capital accumulation and industrial development. The working class is living from hands to mouths.

The main characteristics of our industrial workers can be summarized as below:

·Industrial workers of Bangladesh are economically very poor. They are ill paid by the employers. Most of them are living below the poverty line. They become land -less and many of them are take shelter in the city as a slum dwellers.

·Most of the workers are either illiterate or unskilled. They are not well aware of the labor law. Owners and trade union leaders take this opportunity and exploit them.

·Lack of class-consciousness among the industrial workers. As workers are well educated, they often engage in conflict with each other in the name of political ideology, religion and regionalism.

·Most of the industrial workers have strong bondage with their relatives in the rural areas. Most of the workers have migrated to urban centers in search for work. They often go to village and engage in agricultural work. They have low level of commitment to industrial work.

·Absenteeism has always been a major problem in the Bangladeshi industry. Sickness and religious reasons are the usual excuses given for being absent.

·The wages and job security of the workers depend on the whims of the owners. Workers in general suffer from job insecurity.

·They are working in an unhealthy and unhygienic working environment. As a result they are becoming sick and ill. The employers often dismiss sick employees.

·Workers in our country are working in a conflicting environment, where employers are paying them inadequately and making more profit. Workers always feel that they are deprived and inequitably paid.

·Supply of labor is more than the demand for it. There are surplus work force who are permanent and semi-permanent urban settlers. Consequently employers can easily exploit the workers. The industrial workers cannot get their due wages owing to over supply of labor.

·Economic insecurity has a bearing upon workers' bargaining power with the employers. Industrial workers cannot win in the bargaining process with the owners because of poor financial strength.

·The labor law protects mote the interest of the owners than the employees. The state mechanisms work for the capital, not for the labor. According to Employment Act, 1965, the employers can dismiss any workers without showing any reasons. This is a gross injustice.

·The per capita incomes of our workers are very low. So the are forced to lead a miserable life.

·Most of the workers have a tendency to express their loyalty to the ruling party in order to ensure their job security and avoid harassment. Most of the workers have political affiliations. Most of the larger unions have definite political affiliations, and act or react according to political trends, the workers being mere pawns in the game. Our workers are their leaders have opportunistic characters.

·In many cases workers are not allowed to form their own association to defend and protect their interest and rights. Take the case of Garment industry as an example. Most of the garment workers do not have their trade unions.

From the above discussion it is evident that most of the industrial workers are not fully aware of their problems, their aspirations are their vague and they are unsure of their identity. They are leading a very poor life and they have a lack of class-consciousness.