The government in association with the International Labour Organisation has drafted a time-bound remediation strategy for the readymade garment sector, setting a July 2018 timeframe for completing overhaul of all RMG factories in the country.
As per the draft strategy, a one-stop service for issuing licence and registration to factories under the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments would also be established.
Prioritising on the remediation of the RMG factories that have been inspected under a national initiative, the draft strategy proposed short-, medium- and long-term steps to ensure a safe working condition in the sector, labour ministry officials said.
They said that the move came in line with the recommendations of Sustainability Compact and ILO as the global community raised question over the remediation progress in the factories which are out of the purview of the inspection of two global buyers’ platforms — Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
The international community also questioned the capacity of the DIFE.
At a meeting with foreign diplomats in July, the labour ministry promised to formulate a time-bound remediation strategy for the garment factories inspected under the national (government-ILO) initiative by August 31.
‘A draft remediation strategy has been prepared with the help of ILO and it has been send to the labour ministry for approval,’ DIFE inspector general Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan told New Age on Thursday.
In the strategy, safety assessment in all RMG factories, launching of remediation coordination cell and harmonisation of building standards with the international parameter have been included as short-term steps and all the jobs have already been completed, he said.
Shamsuzzaman said that as medium-term measures, the strategy incorporated a July 2018 timeframe to complete remediation in all RMG factories on a priority basis.
He said that the ministry would take decision on the long-term measures as the ILO proposed strengthening the inspection department and establishing a one-stop service centre for issuing licence and registration to the factories and establishments.
Shamsuzzaman, however, said that they held several meetings with the factory owners over the remediation strategy and asked them to fix safety faults by April, 2018.
‘If any factory owner fails to complete remediation by the timeframe, he/she will have to face legal action and the DIFE will need months for legal procedure against errant factories,’ he said.
According to ministry officials, an industrial safety unit will be established under the long-term strategy to oversee compliance in all type of industries in Bangladesh.
More than 3,500 garment factories have so far been inspected under the three initiatives— Accord, Alliance and national action plan.
According to the DIFE statistics, 1,549 garment factories have been inspected under the national initiative.
Of the 1,549 factories, 1,131 are housed in shared or rented buildings and 418 are housed in buildings owned by factory owners.
Most of the factories housed in shared and rented buildings would have to relocate their units to ensure compliance as building owners are not interested to renovate their buildings, DIFE officials said.
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