RMG owners need to do more to improve working condition

Canadian HC says at briefing

Staff Correspondent

Canadian high commissioner Benoit Pierre Laramee on Monday said more works were needed to be done in the readymade garment sector in Bangladesh to improve working condition and to make the sector more competitive.
‘The recognition and protection of the rights of workers will be a key factor for the sustainability and productivity,’ he said at a press briefing following a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in the city.
The envoy urged the BGMEA to continue its role in helping to improve working condition in the RMG sector and said that the creation of re-employment opportunities for the Rana Plaza victims was required.
Benoit said, ‘It is important to ensure compliance with safety standards but more important to ensure that a second Rana Plaza tragedy never happens again.’
To ensure culture of safety, transparency and accountability in the RMG sector, the high commissioner stressed on effective and meaningful social dialogue between industry owners, government and workers.
He requested the BGMEA for close collaboration with the International Labour Organisation to provide information on factories for inspection outside those which are covered by the initiatives of North American and European retailers group Alliance and Accord.
Benoit said that Bangladesh had set a target to export $50 billion in garments by 2021 and this objective would contribute towards the country’s vision of reaching middle income status.
The time now is ripe for Bangladesh to strategise and plan on how it will manage the sector during the transition from a low to middle income country as Bangladesh will not get duty-free access once it achieves middle income country status, he said.
In the briefing, BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said that lack of remediation financing for making the factories compliant, low productivity, lack of training for the trade union activists and devaluation of currency in the EU were now the major challenges for the readymade garment sector.
He requested the envoy to look after the remediation financing issue and to ensure the implementation of Article-21 of Accord which is related with remediation financing.
Atiqul also urged the high commissioner to work together with Bangladesh so that Bangladesh could raise its export to Canada, overcoming the current negative growth.

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