There are more than 500 unauthorized apparel firms in Bangladesh which are operating without installing any fire safety measures in their units. The Government will inspect these factories and insist them to follow the rules and regulations, said Ms. Begum Monnujan Sufian, State Minister for Labor and Employment.
She said the Ministry will request the central bank of Bangladesh – Bangladesh Bank – to relax rules in releasing funds meant for making dormitories for the apparel workers. She was speaking at a meeting with representatives of the two leading garment associations in the country – the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
The meeting was held to highlight the importance of installing fire safety measures in the garment factories in the wake of the recent fire accident at Smart Export Garment Limited, an unauthorized garment factory, which resulted in the death of seven female workers.
Mr. AKM Salim Osman, president of BKMEA urged the Bangladesh Government to give a deadline to the unauthorized apparel factories to strengthen their fire safety measures, instead of asking them to shutdown immediately, since these factories also contribute to exports and earn foreign exchange for the country.
The second vice president of BGMEA, Mr. Md Siddiqur Rahman told fibre2fashion, “We have introduced a crash course for the upper level and middle level garment workers as well as the owner of garment factories on fire safety measures.”
“The course is conducted twice a week with 400 people in a batch and we have already trained more than 3000 people,” he informs.
According to Mr. Rahman, the association is planning to trainee more than 40,000 people during the next six-month period.