Compensation, wage top list of RMG workers’ concerns, finds Alliance

Staff Correspondent | Published at 01:44am on July 27, 2018

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A file photo shows workers are busy at a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka.-- New Age

Most of the concerns shared by readymade garment workers in Alliance-listed factories with a helpline set up by the platform of North American buyers and retailers were about wage and compensation.
A recent finding of Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety showed that 19,582 substantive issues were shared by the workers with the helpline, Amader Kotha, between December 1, 2014 and June 30, 2018 and 3,819 of which were related to compensation and wage.
The finding showed that job termination and fire incidents outside the factory were among the most commonly reported issues.
The helpline received 2,793 complaints related to compensation benefits while 2,021 related to termination, it showed.
As many as 1,742 grievances related to verbal abuse were shared with the helpline while workers reported 1,942 issues related to fire incidents outside their factories.
Of 2,33,028 inbound calls to Amader Kotha till date, some 3,563 calls were made in June 2018, Alliance said.
Since December 1, 2014, calls were received from 912 Alliance factories where the helpline was launched while substantive issues were received from 756 factories.
Calls were also received from non-Alliance factories, the finding said.
Established by Alliance as an empowerment mechanism for garment workers in Alliance-affiliated factories, the helpline allows workers to report and resolve substantive issues in their factories, ranging from emergencies and urgent safety concerns to workplace abuse and wage compensation disputes.
Since its inception, more than 2,33,000 inbound calls from workers have been received and more than 80 per cent of all substantive issues have been resolved, the Alliance said.
Phulki, a non-governmental organisation in Bangladesh, is responsible for implementing the helpline under a project of The Cahn Group, LLC, a platform that establishes a two-way communication channel between organisations and their workers.
Suraiya Haque, founder and executive director of Phulki, told reporters that they resolved 80 per cent of issues through negotiations with factory managements and the rest remained unsolved as workers were not seeking resolution assistance or Alliance was not able to peruse issues further.
The finding showed that 16,833 calls were placed to the helpline in the second quarter of this year, of which substantive issues were mostly related to compensation, termination and fire outside factories.
The report said that 91 per cent of safety issues reported in April-June period of this year were resolved and closed by the end of June.
Alliance has recently announced that the helpline would transition to an independent initiative which would have the ability to expand its services beyond Alliance factories.
Amader Kotha has empowered hundreds of thousands of garment workers to report issues of concerns anonymously and without fear of retribution, Jim Moriarty, executive director of Alliance, said at a recent press conference.
‘We are incredibly proud to leave the helpline as a legacy, and that this important resource will continue, and grow, under the leadership of the helpline project partners,’ he added.