140 safety committees formed in Alliance factories

Staff Correspondent       
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Bangladesh’s garment industry is transforming from one of the most dangerous in the world to one of the safest. James F Moriarty, Country Director of Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, the platform of North American retailers, said this while addressing a press conference about the progress of Alliance on 11 April at a city hotel, Dhaka.

Figure 1: Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety country director Jim Moriarty speaks at a press conference at the Lakeshore Hotel in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday.
Figure 1: Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety country director Jim Moriarty speaks at a press conference at the Lakeshore Hotel in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday.

He said, “We have a one goal, to fortify safety at the factories from which our members source and in which nearly 1.3 million workers make a living”. More than 71 factories have completed their corrective action plans and we expect this number will increase to more than double within the next few months. 73 percent of all required repairs have been completed across active Alliance factories and 64 percent of all high priority repairs, he added.

“We have suspended 142 factories for failure to make adequate progress on remediation, because we continue to maintain a no-tolerance policy for factories that fail to prioritize safety,” said Moriarty at the Alliance’s press conference.

Moriarty also said that in 2014, they implemented a first of training program that taught nearly 1.3 million workers how to protect themselves. Worker training has been a key component in their mission to build a safer garment industry.

We have also trained near 25,000 security guards to play a leadership role in protecting lives from fire and earthquake and we have trained 17 well renowned security guard companies, he added.

He said about their confidential Helpline ‘AmaderKotha’, which also continues to serve as a tremendously important resource for workers. He informed, the Alliance helpline has received more than 125,000 calls to date on issues ranging from wage disputes to concerns about structural safety. Twelve workers from a six-story Alliance factory called the helpline to report that factory management had begun construction to rectify pillars on the ground floor. Workers now having a voice, and a team of advocates working to ensure their safety.

Moriarty also informed that total 140 safety committees have been formed in Alliance factories and they are continuing to foster the development of safety committees in their factories in order to facilitate a more open dialogue between workers and factory management.

He said, “We consider the development and training of these committees tremendously important, as they will ensure that workers have a voice on safety within their factories long after the Alliance sunsets.”

Alliance’s Deputy Country Director Paul Rigby, Director of Engineering Kazi Wadul Haque and Director of Operations Quamrunnesa Babli, Communications officer Yazdani Ul Islam were also present during the press conference.

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