The Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety has vowed to help Bangladesh’s garment industry become one of the safest in the world by 2018.
Alliance Country Director and former USA ambassador to Bangladesh James F Moriarty said this while addressing a press conference in Dhaka on Wednesday.
He said: “We have worked together to help transform what was once one of the more dangerous industries in the world into one of the safest as no one wanted to see a disaster in 2019 that undermine all the great work done by the organisation.”
In 2013, after the Rana Plaza collapse on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, two dozen American retailers joined together in an unprecedented partnership among the competitors to create the Alliance, a five-year initiative formed on the premise that protecting the safety garment worker is a moral imperative.
“At the Alliance, our job is clear: First, to help making the Bangladesh garment industry one of the safest in the world. And second, to leave behind a lasting legacy of safety that will protect workers and secure the continued growth of this vital industry,” said Moriarty at Alliance’s first press conference in 2017.
Alliance’s Deputy Country Director Paul Rigby, Director of Engineering Kazi Wadul Haque and Director of Operations Quamrunnesa Babli were present during the press conference.
Moriarty also said: “We would not depart Bangladesh before the systems and organisations were in place to ensure the works done by them continues and does not waste away.”
“Alliance will not leave Bangladesh without putting in place the necessary measures to sustain our safety gains,” the Alliance Country Director said adding that from the start they had realised that to create a culture of safety, they had to work with owners to help remediate the physical problems within a factory.
According to Alliance’s statement, 60 Alliance factories have substantially completed their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) while 68% of all required repairs across active Alliance factories have been completed. This includes 62% of the repairs they deem “highest priority” and “high priority”- the most critical items including the structural retrofitting of columns and the installation of fire doors.
The Alliance continues to maintain a no-tolerance policy for factories that are not making sufficient progress on remediation, the statement said.
“We have had to suspend 129 factories in the line with our policy while we reinstated three previously suspended factories in recognition of their progress- showing that a course-correction on safety is possible and we are committed to working with factories that are fully committed to the task,” said Moriarty.
According to Alliance officials, they had already trained 1.3 million workers in 947 factories on fire safety and evacuation skill while 1 million workers had received refresher training on Basic Fire Safety. Moreover, approximately 24,000 security guards had received training to play a leadership role in protecting life—not property—in an emergency.