No factory inspection without fee after July 31

ILO sets final deadline

Staff Correspondent

The International Labour Organisation has set July 31 as the final deadline for the completion of a government-led safety inspection, which is sponsored by the ILO, in the readymade garment factories and after the deadline factory owners will have to bear the cost of safety assessment in their units, an ILO official said.
The ILO-sponsored inspection programme missed its previous deadline April 30 due to non-cooperation from some factory owners and inconsistency in information given about factory locations and contact numbers.
Recently, the ILO informed the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association that in consultation with the government they had set the deadline and this was the final timeframe for the factory owners to complete safety inspection in their units.
In a letter, ILO country director Srinivas Reddy urged BGMEA president Atiqul Islam to inform all the factory owners to come forward to enjoy the free of charge safety assessment until the end of this date.
‘….after which the cost of the assessment would have to borne by the building and factory owners,’ he said.
Reddy said that they would request the labour ministry to ensure that the completion of safety assessment in the factory would be a requirement or the eligibility of the export licence.
After receiving the ILO letter, the BGMEA on Saturday sent a short message to its members asking come under the inspection to avoid complexities over export business.
BGMEA officials said the members had been asked to ensure safety assessment in their units under the initiative of European retailers’ group Accord or North American retailers’ platform Alliance or ILO.
BGMEA officials said that they had received the letter from the ILO on May 6.
According to the ILO information, the initiative conducted all three –– structural, fire and electrical –– safety assessment in 733 factories up to April 30.
‘Based on our current information some 1,700 factories are left to be assessed with 800 pending verification in view of their status (closed or shifted),’ the ILO letter said.
‘Given the importance of drawing the process of preliminary assessment to close and to focus on the follow up and remediation work the ILO in consultation with the MoLE has decided to provide a firm time line for completion – 31 July 2015,’ Reddy said in his letter.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garments workers, in April 2013, EU retailers formed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh while 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 over 1,900 factories.
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.
Syed Ahmed, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, told New Age that the three initiatives — Alliance, Accord and the government-ILO –– set targets to complete inspections in about 3,500 export-oriented garment factories and as of May 8, inspections in 2,911 factories had been completed.
‘As per the information of the ILO, our inspectors have been verifying the lists of the factories that claimed closed and provided incorrect contact information,’ he said.
Sayed said that the DIFE inspectors found that there were no existence of some factories and a number of factories were shifted to new locations.

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