Helpline launched for RMG workers

Staff Correspondent

The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments on Sunday launched a telephone helpline for the readymade garment workers so that they could raise any concern about possible fire, building safety and worker rights.
State minister for labour Mujibul Haque, who attended the launching ceremony held at the ministry’s conference room as chief guest, said the government had established the helpline to ensure effective complaint management for the workers.
The helpline (0800 44 55 000) will be run by the DIFE and has been established with the technical and financial support of the International Labour Organisation and Norway government.
At the initial phase the helpline will target readymade garment workers in the Ashulia area and should it proves successful, it will be made available for the workers nationwide, the junior minister said.
DIFE inspector general Syed Ahmed said at the initial stage the workers could lodge complaints through the helpline from 9:00am to 10:00pm every day.
After registering any complaint, the helpline will inform it to the DIFE and the respective labour inspectors will investigate into it within the next seven days, he said.
According to Syed, DIFE, the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department and the Directorate of Labour will deal with the received calls through the helpline and the callers will then be contacted with a response.
ILO country director Srinivas Reddy said over the last two years, unprecedented efforts had been made to enhance the workplace safety and improve workers’ rights in the readymade garment sector in Bangladesh.
By providing workers with the chance to address their grievances this helpline gives a voice to the voiceless, he said.
Reddy said the helpline would play an important role in facilitating better workplace relations by helping address grievances that might otherwise escalate into mass protests or court cases.
Labour secretary Mikail Shipar, director of labour SM Ashrafuzzaman and representatives from employers and workers’ organisations attended the programme.

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