60 RMG factory owners asked to come under inspection process

Failure likely to lead to legal action

Staff Correspondent

The government’s factory inspection department on Wednesday asked over 60 garment factory owners to come under the government- and International Labour Organisation-led safety inspection process as they have been showing their unwillingness to let conduct checking in their units.
The factory owners will have to face legal action if they fail to pay heed to the order, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments inspector general Syed Ahmed told New Age on Saturday.
‘We have issued letters to the non-cooperative factory owners asking them to come under the inspection programme immediately. If they do not comply with the DIFE direction, the government will take legal action against them,’ he said.
The DIFE also handed over a list of 666 factories to its inspectors to scrutinise the contact information and another list of 508 units to verify whether the factories were closed.
On March 12, the ILO informed the government that the safety assessment attempts went unsuccessful in 1,236 garment factories due to non-cooperation of their owners and inconsistency information including factory location and contact numbers.
According to the ILO list, contact information of 666 factories was incorrect, the authorities of 62 factories were non-cooperative to conduct inspections and the authorities of 508 units claimed that their factories remained closed.
‘After scrutinising the information, we will pursue the factory owners so that they come under the safety inspections. If they fail, the government will take tough measures and it might be even the closure of factories as none will be allowed to run business without ensuring safety standard,’ Syed said.
‘I am not unwilling to let conduct safety inspection in my factory; but I think it is not the right time as there has been no orders from my unit for the last six months and it has remained closed for the period,’ Motiur Rahman, managing director of Seven Star Fashions Ltd, told New Age.
He said, ‘I requested the inspection teams to conduct the checking in my factory when I can open it after getting sufficient orders.’
Motiur, however, said he was not aware of the recent letter served by the DIFE regarding the inspections.
Rafiqul Islam, owner of Monika Apparel, rejected the claim of the ILO and said no inspection team came to his factory physically.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, the EU retailers formed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh while the North American retailers formed Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety.
Both the initiatives launched inspection programmes in the Bangladeshi RMG factories from where their members procure products and the initiatives completed their primary safety assessments in their listed factories numbering over 1,900.
The government in association with the ILO announced a separate inspection programme for rest of the garment factories which were not on the lists of Alliance and Accord and which were mainly engaged in subcontracting and the initiative inspected over 800 factories up to March 15.
Srinivas Reddy, the ILO country director, said that they had set a target to complete the inspection by April 2015 but problems remained with inconsistency in information including factory location and contact numbers and non-cooperation of some of the factory owners.
The three initiatives have already inspected 77 per cent of readymade garment factories and the progress of inspections in rest of the units will depend how fast the government would complete its verification on 1,236 factories.

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