Government Policy

Speakers call for ensuring functional safety committees in RMG factories

As ready-made garments (RMG) is Bangladesh’s largest export sector, speakers at a program called for establishing safety committees at all garment factories to ensure occupational health and safety of the workers.

The function titled “Commemorating Rana Plaza Tragedy: Present OSH Situation in the RMG Sector and Way Forward” was organised by the Solidarity Center-Bangladesh Office at Hotel Asia, Paltan in the city under its USAID’s Workers’ Empowerment and Participation (WEP) Activity to commemorate the Rana Plaza Tragedy.

The speakers said that it has been 9 long years since the worst tragedy in the RMG sector in the country. Still there is a long way to go in terms of improving the health and safety conditions in the factories.

Addressing the function Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Labor and Employment Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan said:

“We have the responsibility of finding the weaknesses of Safety Committees and resolving them accordingly”.

There cannot be any negligence in their work nor corruption”, she said adding, the stakeholders have to identify the needs of Rana Plaza victims and assist them accordingly.

Advocate AKM Nasim, Country Program Director, Solidarity Center, Bangladesh Office, said after the Rana Plaza tragedy, Accord, Alliance and now the RSC are working for a safer workplace.

“We have advanced a lot but still how much the safety committees in factories are able to function is a question. Worker representatives should be allowed to play a stronger role in Safety Committees”, he said.

Advocate Nazrul Islam, Program Officer at the Solidarity Center in his presentation highlighted that research needs to be conducted on weaknesses and challenges and how to make Safety Committees functional.

He added that it is extremely vital to build the capacity of the members of Safety Committee on Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) through training, orientation, learning visits, etc.

Professor Dr. Jakir Hossain said that institutional and legal framework should be strengthened to prevent any accidents from occurring in the future.

Nazma Yesmin, Director at BILS said that the injured victims should be given long term medical treatment and health care facilities.

Salauddin Shapon, President of Bangladesh Revolutionary Garment Workers Federation (BRGWF) said that there were a lot of actions taken to overcome safety issues in the past few years but now the development has become stagnant.

If a case is filed against employers, the workers have to wait for years before any progress is made. When a complaint was made to the Accord, it was addressed very quickly but any complaint submitted to the RSC takes months to be resolved”, he said.

Participants called for improving building and fire safety for the workers and introducing trade union and Safety Committee in all the garment factories.

Advocate A.K.M. Nasim, Country Program Director of the Solidarity Center, Salauddin Shapon, President of Bangladesh Revolutionary Garment Workers Federation, Dr. Jakir Hossain, Professor at Institute of Bangladesh Studies, Rajshahi University, Nazma Yesmin, Director at BILS and Advocate Md. Borkot Ali, Deputy Director (Legal) of BLAST spoke at the event.

Representatives from USAID, ILO, SKOP, NCCWE, Sajeda Foundation, BLF, Labor Court Bar were also present in the event.

Source: United News of Bangladesh