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Dhaka Tribune

Still many challenges ahead for RMG sector

Update : 23 Apr 2015, 07:41 PM

Speakers at a programme yesterday lauded the progress in the country’s ready-made garments sector as significant but warned that there were more challenges to be addressed.

They stressed the need for further improvements in working conditions and workers’ rights. Completing the factory inspection task should be given the highest priority while the government needs to take action against those who would refuse to cooperate, they said.

The views were expressed at at a commemoration discussion jointly organised by the Labour and Employment Ministry and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the support from Canada, Kingdom of Netherlands and the United Kingdom in the capital’s Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.

They strongly recommended that more trade unions are allowed in the industry.

The Rana Plaza compensation process has highlighted the need for Employment Injury Insurance scheme that may benefit the workers and the industry alike, they said.

One-minute silence was observed at the event in remembrance of the 1,136 people who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013 at Savar. Most of the victims were from the five factories housed in the building.

State Minister of Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque in his concluding speech said:  “Almost three-quarters of the garment factories have so far been assessed with regard to structural and fire safety issues with only a very small number being deemed too unsafe to operate.

“The capacity of the Labour Inspectorate and Fire Service is much stronger while legislative amendments have led to the establishment of many more unions. These changes will play a crucial role in charting the future course of the industry, turning it into a sustainable sector.”

On the other hand, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam said: “So far more than 300 trade unions have been formed out of more than 3,000 factories. So there may be some problems but it will not be wise to blame the entire industry.”

He also refuted the claim that workers were threatened to not form trade unions.

Ambassador of the delegation of the EU to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon, US Ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, High Commissioner of Canada Benoit Pierre Laramee, British High Commissioner Robert Winnington Gibson, secretaries and labour leaders also spoke at the function. 

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