A report by Elizabeth Paton titled ‘After Factory Disaster, Bangladesh Made Big Safety Strides. Are the Bad Days Coming Back?’ published in the New York Times is misleading, and depicts a wrong image of Bangladesh textile and apparel industry. Already New York Times has updated that report changing few points as per the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) protests.
Bangladesh’s leading trade body BGMEA condemned the report on several points.
- It mentioned that the Readymade Garments Sustainability Council (RSC) would be legally binding, but actually, it is not. RSC will not subscribe to any backsliding that will impact the safety of the sector. Proposed building codes are for all sector, not only RMG. As far as RMG goes, there won’t be any backsliding or compromise or amended protocol which poses any risk for workers’ safety. Much has been achieved and it’s time to sustain all that’s been achieved so far.
- The new proposed BNBC offers a slashing category. For RMG, BGMEA is sticking to its base. BGMEA is not going to be complying with any lesser standards. So, the headline makes little or no sense.
- The report cites Rubana Huq, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) owns lingerie and sweater factories. Rather she owns shirts, sweaters and briefs factories.
- Nirapon, with whom BGMEA now is having discussions, has appointed 26 agents, with differing costs and eligibility. BGMEA is simply looking at the costs and negotiating with the agents offering the services.
- The report cites the comment of Peter McAllister, the executive director of the Ethical Trading Initiative and has always had the best things right say about our process and BGMEA is sure that that one line that suited its requirement was the only one to be printed.
- The accident mentioned at the outset of the report has nothing to do with the boiler. It was a completely different explosion of a cylinder of CNG that was in the factory and is often used for multiple purposes and users throughout Bangladesh.
- Also, Walmart has accepted Accord’s safety standard and has incorporated in its supplier guidelines issued in Dec 2019 that any factory that is in good standing with Accord will be ok.
Rubana Huq, President, BGMEA, said, “Bangladesh has made extraordinary progress towards safety and while other countries are sliding back and are facing up to 2 accidents a month (a recent occurrence) eyes are still on Bangladesh, which seems to be attracting negative attention just because we have a much more approachable posturing and transparency.”