The government has asked all factories from the National Initiative (NI) under the Tripartite Plan of Action to complete their remediation process by April 2018.
As part of the government’s initiative to ensure RMG factory safety after the Rana Plaza disaster, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) held a meeting with the factory owners from the NI to evaluate the progress of their remediation in making a safer workplace on Sunday.
DIFE at the meeting asked all the factories to complete their remediation process by April 2018. If the factories fail to meet the April deadline, then the DIFE will take strict measures.
DIFE Inspector General Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan said: “DIFE has already decided not to renew licences of the non-compliant factories and cancel their licence after the expiry of the deadline.
“To ensure safety at the workplace, all factories must have safe electrical lines, fire safety and remedy to structural problems that have been identified during inspections. We have asked the factory owners to complete all the reforms by April 2018.
“Failure to meet the deadline will result in dire consequences. Regarding the final decision on these factories, we will hold a meeting with the National Tripartite Committee (NTC), as the issues are related to top global partners.”
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After the Rana Plaza factory disaster, on May 15, 2013, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh were signed. The Accord is a five-year, independent and legally-binding agreement between global brands, retailers and trade unions to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi RMG industry.
The Alliance is a legally-binding, five-year commitment to improve safety in Bangladeshi RMG factories. The Alliance was organised in 2013 through the Bipartisan Policy Centre, with discussions convened and chaired by former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former US Senator Olympia Snowe. The Alliance focuses mainly on workers’ rights.
Later, the Bangladesh government, supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), formed another platform – the National Initiative (NI) – for RMG factories that were not part of the Accord and Alliance to improve their safety standards.
A total 1,549 garment factories beyond the Accord and Alliance inspections had been inspected by the National Initiative.
After the completion of their initial inspection on November 10, 2015, the factories registered just 20% progress in remediation procedures over the last two years.
“We are currently monitoring the remediation of 780 factories, which are under the government initiative,” said DIFE Inspector General Shamsuzzaman.
As of Monday, DIFE had held meetings with owners of factories in the Dhaka and Narayanganj zones, and they will hold meetings with the owners of factories in Gazipur on Tuesday and with owners in the Chittagong zone on Saturday.