Bangladesh brings in new work safety measures
ILO-backed initiative follows Rana Plaza collapse
The US has removed preferential tariffs for Bangladesh in a bid to provoke safety improvements (photo by Stephan Uttom)
Bangladesh and the International Labor Organization (ILO) launched a new garment sector safety campaign on Tuesday aimed at improving factory working conditions, six months after a garment factory complex building collapsed killing 1,132 people.
The new initiative, which aims to minimize fires and structural problems by the end of 2016, will target about half of the country’s 4,500 garment factories which are yet to sign up to new safety directives.
“Successful implementation of the programs will ensure better working conditions and safety for garment workers in Bangladesh,” said Gilbert Houngbo, the ILO’s director general for field operations and partnerships.
The move comes after the US suspended preferential trade status for Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza tragedy and a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in Dhaka which killed more than 110 people in November last year. Washington is due to review the measures in December.
The European Union has also threatened a similar end to reduced tariffs on the country’s US$20 billion garment industry.
“Rana Plaza and Tazreen became the symbols of what is wrong in the ready made garments sector. Now Bangladesh, supported by the international community, has the chance to get it right,” said Dutch ambassador Gerben Sjoerd de Jong.
Holland, Canada and the UK have donated $24 million to the safety campaign with a further $22 million expected from a collective of fashion brands which operate in the country.
Dhaka-based labor leader Babul Akhter said that the new safety campaign should go beyond just trying to revive the poor image of the Bangladeshi garment industry and initiate tangible changes.
“The garment industry is full of a number of sad stories of poor and neglected workers which came to light only after recent tragedies,” he said.
A recent survey by the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology found that about 90 percent of the buildings housing factories were structurally unsafe.
There have been several safety inspections since the Tazreen and Rana Plaza accidents but they have suffered from a shortage of manpower and a lack of technical expertise.
“We have established a fully fledged directorate for factory inspections and the number of inspectors will be raised from the current 200 to about 679 by the end of this year,” said Labor Minister Rajuddin Ahmed.
Some believe the meeting's purpose was to enshrine officially into law tighter controls over religion
Authorities remain indifferent to violence against Christians, church leader says
Traditional local fish breeding sites getting damaged if fishermen are deprived of entering international waters
Good conscience, integrity, honesty among the necessary qualities for elected officials, archbishop says
Filipino archbishop reminds citizens to back candidates who support a clean environment
NEW! Premium ContentGet full access. Start your 14-day free trial today.
NEW! Premium ContentThank you for registering! Your 14-Day Free Trial begins today.Here is your login details to access Premium Content:
NEW! Premium ContentOops! That email address has already been registered. Please try again.