Any proposal to set up a readymade garment (RMG) factory in Bangladesh would not be approved in the absence of compliance of building code and other safety measures, Industries Minister Dilip Barua has said.
Addressing a 'Multi-stakeholders Meeting to Ensure Safety and Build Positive Image of the Garment Industry of Bangladesh', the Minister said RMG is the highest foreign exchange earning sector of Bangladesh, and the safety of its workers is a top priority for the Government.
He called on all the garment industry stakeholders, including the trade unions, owners of garment units and apparel buyers to step forward to jointly address the issues like enhancing productivity, providing healthy and safe working environment for workers and increasing minimum wage.
He urged the buyers to offer reasonable rates for Bangladeshi apparel products to enable producers to meet the compliance norms.
Speaking at the meeting, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said ensuring safety of the workers at garment factories has become a key concern after the occurrence of some of the deadly fire incidents like those at Hameem and Tazreen garment factories.
He said the fire-accidents have proved that the measures being taken at present are not satisfactory, and much more needs to be done to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents in future.
Rather than reactive, the RMG stakeholders need to adopt a proactive approach to avert such misfortunes in future, he added.
Mr. Jyrki Raina, President of Geneva-based IndustriAll Global Union, which organized the meeting together with IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, said they want the trade unions in Bangladesh to be stronger and constructive.
He said the present minimum wage being offered to garment sector employees is not satisfactory and urged the RMG owners to hike the same.