The country’s apparel makers claimed on Saturday that Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector has become a role model in the world for its safe working condition due to vigorous safety initiatives taken by the entrepreneurs after the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013.
‘Rana Plaza collapse was the turning point for the country’s RMG sector and following the disaster, factory owners have been paying attention to ensure a safe working condition as well as a sustainable industry. Bangladesh has become a role model in the world in creating safe working condition,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Md Siddiqur Rahman said at a press conference.
The BGMEA organised the conference at its headquarters in Dhaka on the eve of fifth anniversary of Rana Plaza building collapse, the worst ever industrial incident in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.
The BGMEA president said that following the tragic incident, the trade body had worked closely with three safety initiatives, Accord on Fire Safety in Bangladesh, a platform of European retailers, Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a consortium of North American buyers, and National Action Plan adopted by the government of Bangladesh, to ensure safe working condition in the RMG sector.
‘In last five years, the RMG sector gained enough maturity and new factories were set up in line with Bangladesh National Building Code and other safety standard,’ Siddiq said.
He said that the five-year tenure of brand-led safety initiatives — Accord and Alliance — would end in May and June respectively and two separate committees would be formed comprising of representatives from Accord, Alliance, factory owners and the government to monitor the remediation progress of the platforms and evaluate the readiness of national platform to take over the factory safety monitoring responsibility.
The BGMEA president said that the Accord would start its work as ‘Transitional Accord’ from June 1 this year and the platform would work for the next six months.
Meanwhile, the Alliance would form Safety Monitoring Organisation comprising of the BGMEA, brands, International Labour organisation and the government, he said.
Replying to a question, Siddiq said that both the initiatives would oversee factory safety until the Remediation Coordination Cell was capable of taking over the responsibility.
‘We are always gracious to the workers. The wages of RMG workers were increased by 223 per cent in last six years and recently a new wage board has been formed against the backdrop of a BGMEA request to the government to review the wages,’ the BGMEA president said.
Siddiq, however, criticised civil society members and nongovernmental organisations saying that the country’s RMG sector has achieved many things to be proud of but some of the people and organisations never talked positively about those achievements.
The BGMEA president hoped that the number of people whose livelihood was depended directly and indirectly on the RMG sector would increase to 2 crore in next five years from existing about one crore.
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