About 31 per cent of readymade garment factories, inspected under the national initiative, have completely failed to fix safety faults, while 36 per cent of factories made less than 30 per cent progress in repairing structural, fire and electrical faults in the units.
Recently the government has sent two separate lists of the factories to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and to the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association seeking cooperation from the trade bodies so that the factory owners start and expedite remediation work.
The BGMEA officials said that they have received two separate lists of RMG factories from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment and the trade body would sit with the factory owners on April 17 so that they complete remediation work in their units.
According to the letter, DIFE said that the department had hold 32 meetings with the factory owners in the May-December period of last year to assess the progress of remediation work in the factories.
In the meetings the factory owners promised that they would complete factory remediation by April 2018 but the DIFE inspector found that 230 factories are yet to start any remediation work while the progress in 272 factories are less than 30 per cent, the letter said.
It also said that if the factory owners did not fix safety hazards as per the findings of preliminary assessment the factory buildings would remain risky and it would be a threat to the workers’ lives.
Following the Rana Plaza Building collapse in April 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, a total of 3,780 garment factories were assessed under the three initiatives, European retailer platform Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, North American buyers’ platform Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the government lead and ILO supported national initiative.
Out of 3,780 garment factories, 1,549 were inspected under the national initiative, from which 531 were closed down, 69 relocated and 193 units shifted to the Accord and Alliance lists.
Currently, the DIFE were monitoring remediation work in 745 factories through the remediation coordination cell formed in May last year.
Of 745 factories, 230 (BGMEA members 162 and BKMEA members 56) are yet to start any remediation work in last two and a half years after completion of initial inspection while 272 factories (BGMEA members 187, BKMEA members 67 and 18 common factories) made less than 30 per cent progress by this period.
Following the completion of initial inspection in some 1,549 factories the DIFE and the International Labour Organisation in a press conference on November 10, 2015 asked the factory owners to submit corrective action plans to the department by the next three months for starting remediation process.
The DIFE inspector general Md Shamsuzzaman Bhuiyan told New Age that the labour ministry would convene a meeting of National Tripartite Committee to discuss about the progress of the factory remediation after the deadline promised by the factory owners.
The meeting would be held in May this year and next course of action for the errant factories would be decided in the NTC meeting, he said.
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