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BGMEA trashes NY University report on RMG workers
Dec '15
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has dismissed a report on Bangladesh's apparel workers by the New York University's Stern Business School Centre for Business and Human Rights that said many RMG workers in the country are still working in unsafe conditions.

A majority of workers in export-oriented industry are deprived of safety initiatives while thousands of unregulated factories are putting nearly three million workers at risk, the report titled Beyond the Tip of Iceberg: Bangladesh's forgotten Apparel Workers said.

At a press conference in Dhaka, the BGMEA, termed the report “confusing” as it failed to distinguish local manufacturers from the export-oriented ones.

BGMEA also issued a statement that said the researchers have mixed up the workers of the export-oriented garment factories with workers at local tailoring shops.

Workers at the export-oriented factories have safe working environments and three agencies, including Accord and Alliance, have certified those factories as safe after structural, electrical and fire checks, according to the statement.

If workers are unsafe in the export-oriented garment factories, the owners would not be able to do business with the retailers, said Siddiqur Rahman, BGMEA President.

BGMEA also expressed concern that the report will cast shadow on the RMG sector.

It said the data shown in the report do not match with the real data.

According to the report, there are more than 7,000 garment factories in Bangladesh contributing to global fashion industry, 65 per cent more than previous estimate.

But according to BGMEA, the number of factories producing export-oriented products stands at 3,600.

Rahman said the report was “confusing” as it included all factories in the study.

He also rubbished the mention of unauthorised sub-contracts. “If the buyers do not agree with subcontracting in any given factory, it is never done,” he said.

Buyers place their orders after having surveying their intended factories, the BGMEA chief added. Rahman explained that there are subcontracts within the association member factories and it is done with the consent of brands and buyers.

“Our research shows that indirect sourcing is an essential element of Bangladesh's low-cost, high-volume model of garment production,” said Sarah Labowitz, co-director of the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and a Research Scholar at Stern University.

The report claimed that there are 3,800 factories with about 3 million workers engaged in subcontracts.

BGMEA, however, described the report as untrue. “We will not take the responsibility of the non-member factories,” it said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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