The latest high-level meeting of the international compact to improve the rights and safety of workers in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry began on Monday in Belgium.
Monday’s meeting at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre in Brussels was the fourth held under the compact and reviewed progress made and what still needs to be done, according to the European Commission.
The “Compact for Continuous Improvements in Labour Rights and Factory Safety in the Ready-Made Garment and Knitwear Industry in Bangladesh” was created in response to the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013, when over 1,100 predominantly RMG workers died when their factory building collapsed on top of them.
The European Union, the United States, the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) were the initial signatories, while the government of Canada joined in January 2016.
Since its establishment, the compact partners have actively engaged to address labour and health and safety issues, and to encourage responsible business conduct by all stakeholders, in the ready-made garment (RMG) and knitwear industry in Bangladesh.
Monday’s meeting - titled “Five Years after the Launch of the Sustainability Compact: Taking Stock and Staying Engaged” - began with an opening address by the EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, and ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy, Deborah Greenfield.
It was followed by exchanges on the implementation of the Sustainability Compact by its partners, employers, manufacturers, retailers, representatives from other partners, and civil society organizations.
As part of this process regular follow-up meetings have taken place.