Labour rights organisations alleged that a culture of impunity and a lack of accountability has led to yet another industrial disaster in the country yesterday.
They alleged a lack of safety inspections, monitoring, the absence of labour rights is responsible for repeated industrial accidents in the country.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, trade union leaders and worker’s right group said both the government and factory owners are reluctant to follow through and implement labour laws such as inspection and monitoring responsible for incidents like the Tazreen factory fire, Rana Plaza collapse and the Tampaco Foils Limited in Tongi yesterday.
“This lack of accountability along with the lack of implementation of labour rights is tarnishing the country’s image abroad because we cannot seem to ensure safety and security of factory employees,” said Sirajul Islam Roney president of Bangladesh Garment Workers Employee League.
Executive Director of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmmed said: “The culture of impunity and the time consuming process of getting justice through the legal system is the main reason behind frequent industrial accidents.”
He also said that a lack of coordination among the concerned authorities is another reason behind the frequency of these accidents.
Sirajul said: “The government is giving more importance to the export oriented industries especially the apparel sector while the other sectors are not inspected as closely.”
He added that to make the country’s industry safe for workers in both local and export sectors the government has to offer equal facilities and have similar level of monitoring. He urged the government to allow trade unions in all the factories so they can speak up collectively for their rights.
Syed also said that another reason why industrial disasters happen so frequently in the country is because of a lack of awareness about safety amongst the factory employees.
The building as well as the boiler were a safety hazard but they did not seem to notice that, he added.
“It has been a tradition in the country that the owners go unpunished and the workers are the ones who bear the brunt and suffer,” he said.
To ensure justice and to reduce the frequency of similar fatal factory disasters the government ensure timely and prompt justice of the victims and apprehend those responsible, he added.