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Owners and workers both should work for the betterment of RMG industry, Sultana Kamal

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) believes that after the Rana Plaza Accident, there is significant progress in establishing good governance in the organized garment sector, but in many cases, there is still a deficit. They said it at a press conference on 26 April where they published a research report on ‘Good governance in the readymade garments sector: Progress and challenges.

TIB Board of Trustees Chairperson, Advocate Sultana Kamal; Executive Director, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman; Director of Research and Policy Division, Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan; Senior Program Manager, and Research Assistant, Md. Wahid Alam were present at the press conference.

Figure: Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of the board of trustees at Transparency International Bangladesh, spoke at the press conference on “Good governance in RMG sector: progress review”.

Presenting the research findings, TIB Assistant Program Manager Nazmu Huda Mina said, 39% of 102 different initiatives, taken by stakeholders since the 2013 industrial disaster, had been implemented, but a whopping 41% of work had not yet been implemented while the remaining 20% of tasks were making slow progress.The study also found numerous barriers to implement the projects, including a lack of political will and other issues.

These include the absence of adequate fire service stations and inspectors, inconsistency in the definitions of factory owners and workers in the existing labor law, obstructing workers from forming associations, and harassment of workers by factory owners.

The government has not yet signed the ILO Convention concerning Benefits in the Case of Employment Injury, while the cases filed over the Rana Plaza collapse and 2012 Tajreen Fashion fire are in limbo, according to the TIB research.

The report also said, there is no safety inspector in 147 RMG factories, and the absence of necessary fire-extinguishing equipment in many high-rise factories also poses significant fire and explosion risks.

Some 400,000 workers lost their jobs as around 1,200 factories were shut down for different reasons following the Rana Plaza disaster that left 1,134 workers dead and countless more maimed, the study reveals.

Speaking of the absence of good governance in RMG factories, Sultana Kamal said, “The measures taken by factory owners are meant to maximize their benefits and safeguard their businesses, not to protect workers’ rights. Apart from owners, workers are a big stakeholder of a factory. Therefore, it’s imperative that both parties work for the betterment of the industry.”

Alongside, eight recommendations have been made in the research report to bring good governance in the readymade garment sector, which includes forming a single authority for RMG industry, taking measures to properly ensure workers’ benefits enshrined in the labor laws, and quick disposal of cases filed over workplace accidents by turning the existing labor courts into tribunals.

“In order to implement the remediation co-ordination cell, the financial and technical capacity of the RCC will be increased by the government, buyer, and ILO. Monitoring of RCC activities should include neutral experts, and must be brought under the obligation of the bureaucrats to sustain the RCC activities,” recommended TIB.

The research was conducted between May 2017 and March 2018 period. In this, information gathered at the institutional level from the stakeholders including the officers of the factory inspection, the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defense, the Ministry of Labor and RAJUK.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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