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BGMEA to train 34,000 apparel workers on fire safety
Apr '13
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association will train 34,000 workers and mid-level officials in the apparel sector on fire safety by June, said Commerce Secretary Mahbub Ahmed.

Ahmed spoke at the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hearing in Washington on Thursday.

A total of 3,500 workers and mid-level managers of different garment factories have already been trained after a deadly fire incident at Tazreen Fashions in Ashulia on November 24 last year.

BGMEA, a platform of garment owners, in collaboration with Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence conducted the training.

The secretary said a new national action plan on fire safety and a fresh labour law will be passed in three months to make rules time-befitting.

Ahmed led a 13-member delegation to the USTR hearing in an effort to retain the generalised system of preferences (GSP).

American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations, the largest trade body in the US, filed a petition with USTR, seeking to cancel the GSP, which is a special duty-waiver scheme of the US for the least developed countries for bad working conditions in factories. Garment exports to the US market are not covered by GSP.

Bangladesh employs nearly four million workers in the ready-made garments sector, most of whom are women, and the sector got rid of child labour, Ahmed said in response to questions placed by the judges’ panel at the hearing.

On the death case of Aminul Islam, a leader of Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, who was killed last April, Ahmed said the government has declared Tk 1 lakh as reward for information to solve the case. The case has already been referred to the Criminal Investigation Department.

Bangladesh signed an agreement with USAID on March 21 to improve the labour conditions in the shrimp sector, he said. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, the immediate past president of BGMEA and a member of the delegation, said child labour in the garment sector has been stopped after Senator Harkin’s bill.


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