Workplace safety: RMG sector saw progress but still not enough

RMG Times
শনিবার, এপ্রিল ১৫, ২০২৩
  • শেয়ার করুন

Although progress has been made in the garment sector for the RMG workers’ betterment following the Rana Plaza tragedy, it is nowhere enough, US Ambassador Peter Haas has said.

As Bangladesh moves to graduate from LDC status, more will be expected of it, especially in terms of workers’ safety and labour rights becoming ingrained in the country’s ethos, he said.

The envoy was addressing a stakeholders’ roundtable yesterday, organised by Solidarity Center Bangladesh, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse.

The event titled “Workers’ Health and Safety and Trade Union Rights: Where Are We Now?” was held at The Daily Star Centre.

Citing recent incidents, including the massive fire at the Bangabazar Shopping Complex in Dhaka, Haas highlighted the need for greater progress in industrial safety beyond the export-oriented RMG sector.

He expressed his frustration over the absence of the representatives from the BGMEA, BKMEA, and the government agencies concerned. He said their no-show suggests that they are indifferent towards the issue.

However, the US envoy praised labour leaders for their tireless efforts that resulted in positive changes, particularly in the RMG sector.

“Today, garment factories are safer due to agreements among unions, global brands, and employers who worked together under the former Accord and Alliance,” he added.

He emphasised the need forprotecting workers’ health and safety standards, strengthening the workers’ rights to form and join independent trade unions, and collectively bargain for better working conditions.

The diplomat called upon governments, international brands, and buyers to do more to demand that labour rights are respected throughout their supply chains.

“I believe that through our collective work and commitment, we can continue to make progress in creating sustainable manufacturing that will support workers, the industry, and the economy,” he added.

A one-minute silence was observed at the programme in memory of the Rana Plaza tragedy victims. The collapse of the building on April 24, 2013, left at least 1,136 people dead and many others injured.

Delivering the welcome speech, Kutubuddin Ahmed, general secretary of IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, said Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana was found responsible in an investigation, but he has not been “punished enough”.

Kutubuddin demanded that those responsible for the disaster be handed highest punishment. He also said forming trade unions for garment workers is essential for their emancipation.

Monika Hartsel, deputy country director of Solidarity Center Bangladesh, said, “We mourn for the injustice in the system that allows this preventable tragedy to occur. Today in their memories, let us reconnect ourselves to the collective struggle for a safe, healthy, and just workplace.”

Source: The Daily Star