The government has set April 2018 as the deadline for completing remediation works in the readymade garment factories inspected under the joint initiative of Bangladesh government and the International Labour Organisation.
The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments on Sunday started holding meetings with the factory owners on evaluation progress and asked for removing all the safety faults in the units by April 2018.
‘Now we are holding meetings with the factories housed in their own buildings to evaluate their remediation progress and the factory authorities have been asked to complete remediation by April 2018,’ DIFE inspector general Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan told New Age on Monday.
He said that if any factories inspected under ILO supported national initiative failed to fix all the faults by the deadline, they would have to face legal action.
Shamsuzzaman said that DIFE would not allow renewal of licence for the noncompliant RMG units after the deadline.
According to the DIFE statistics, some 1,549 garment factories, which remained outside the purview of the inspection conducted by two buyers’ groups—Accords and Alliance—had been inspected under the national initiative.
Following the completion of initial inspection in November 2015, the factories registered about 20 per cent progress in remediation in last two years.
DIFE inspector general said that of the 1,590 factories, inspected under the national initiative, 513 have been closed, 64 relocated to new buildings, 14 located in economic zone areas and 178 factories added to the list of global buyers’ platform—Accord and Alliance.
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 2,200 factories.
‘Now we are monitoring the remediation work in 780 factories under the government initiative and of them 312 factories are housed in their own buildings while 468 housed in shared and ranted buildings,’ Shamsuzzaman said.
The DIFE held meetings with the factory authorities who run their units in their own buildings in Dhaka and Narayanganj zones on Sunday and Monday respectively.
Meetings with the factory owners of Gazipur and Chittagong zones would be held on today and Saturday next respectively.
In the month of August this year, DIFE held meetings with the owners who are running their factories in shared or rented buildings and asked them to submit timeframe for completion of corrective action plan at their units.
The labour ministry would convene a meeting of National Tripartite Committee to discuss about the punishment for the errant factories after the remediation deadline, the DIFE inspector general said.
‘Although the Bangladesh Labour Act empowered DIFE for taking legal action against the noncompliant factories, we want to take decision in the NTC meeting over the way of execution of laws as the issue is being monitored by the international community,’ Shamsuzzaman said.
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