Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, the platform of North American retailers, on Tuesday observed that Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector was becoming safest in the world from being in one of the worst conditions.
Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013 would remain one of the darkest days in the history of Bangladesh, but the country made significant changes to ensure that RMG workers would never again risk their lives just by going to work, the country director of the Alliance Jim Moriarty said at a quarterly press conference at Lakeshore Hotel in the city.
‘... we’re witnessing a transformation of Bangladesh’s garment industry from one of the most dangerous in the world, to one of the safest,’ he said.
Moriarty said that the Alliance was committed to improve safety at its supplier factories and 73 per cent of all required repairs across active factories have been completed and this includes 64 per cent of all high priority repairs.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, North American retailers, including top brands like Walmart and Gap, formed the Alliance undertaking a five-year plan which set timelines and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programmes.
The Alliance country director said that a total of 142 factories were suspended from their compliant list due to failure in making adequate progress on remediation while 71 factories completed their Corrective Action Plans.
He expected that the number of remediated factories would be more than double within the next few months saying that much work lies ahead for the Alliance over the next 15 months.
Moriarty said that the Alliance provided training to 85 per cent of workers of its listed factories while the initiative trained 25,000 security guards so that they can play a leadership role in protecting life—not property—at the time of a fire incident or earthquake.
He said that the Alliance introduced confidential Helpline—Amader Kotha—and the Helpline has so far received more than 1.25 lakh calls on issues ranging from wage disputes to concerns about structural safety.
‘As we look to our transition beyond 2018, we will ensure that the Helpline remains available to Bangladesh’s garment workers without interruption,’ Moriarty said.
A total of 140 safety committees have been formed in the Alliance listed factories in order to facilitate a more open dialogue between workers and factory management, he said.
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