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ILO expects a way forward by Saturday: Houngbo

  • Published at 10:09 am May 3rd, 2013
ILO expects a way forward by Saturday: Houngbo

Visiting Deputy Director General (DDG) for Field Operations and Partnerships, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo said here on Friday that they are expecting a way forward after the Savar tragedy and a roadmap will be there by Saturday to address safety issues, reports UNB.

“I’m looking forward in a very positive way. We’ve to consider this tragedy as a new beginning. You have to use it as a (positive) catalyst,” he told a meeting at the conference hall of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).

He said they would continue to discuss with the authorities concerned and workers’ bodies and owners today. “I’m very confident by tomorrow (Saturday) we’ll have a final way forward in terms of roadmap with all the commitments laid down.”

Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF) arranged the meeting with BEF President M Fazlul Hoque in the chair.

President of Bangladesh Garment manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Atiqul Islam, second vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) AH Aslam Sunny, BEF and MCCI Secretary General Farooq Ahmed and business leaders were also present.

The ILO DDG, who arrived here on Wednesday, also said there are three dimensions that the ILO and authorities concerned need to look into.

“(The) first dimension is workers’ rights, secondly overall safety issues and finally working conditions, managing crisis to make sure the new law takes serious look into workers’ rights,” Houngbo explained adding that he is impressed with the positive trend that Bangladesh has achieved MDGs where exports have also played a role.

He said all need to sort out the problems, recognise the problems and address those through joint efforts. “We want to solve the problems. Let’s not kill the economy… we need to look at a balanced approach.”

BGMEA President Atiqul Islam said they want to work together to avoid repetition of such incidents in the country.

He said the BGMEA authorities will have a report on the structural design of each factory by the end of this month. “Then, we’ll shut down the risky factories. We have that authority.”

Besides, Atiqul Islam said, they will also inspect factories with their own engineers. He said they need a concrete action plan – National Tripartite Action Plan - with support from the ILO.

The BGMEA president also sought ILO support for rehabilitating the workers with disabilities due to the Savar accident.

The high-profile ILO delegation arrived here on Wednesday on a four-day visit with a plan to help Bangladesh improve the working conditions in the country’s mills and factories.

The other members of the delegation are Andre Bogui, a senior staff at the Director- General’s Office, Coen Kompier, a specialist on Labour Standards, and Amin Al-Wreidat, a specialist on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).

The delegation will hold a press conference at a city hotel on Saturday afternoon on the outcome of the visit.

Factory owners and government officials will also join the press conference.

The ILO delegation will leave Dhaka after the press conference.