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Factory owners, buyers callous to Bangla RMG workers
Apr '15
In the run up to the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has severely criticised buyer forums and factory owners for not taking any initiative to create a fund for sustainable development of readymade garments (RMG) sector and workers’ welfare.

The TIB’s scathing indictment came in a follow up research paper that noted that although according to the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act 2013 there is a provision to create Workers’ Welfare Fund, factory owners have not yet created such fund.

Although not legally binding, there has been no initiative by buyers either to create such fund except for the victims of Rana Plaza. The buyers’ contribution to Rana Palza Trust Fund is voluntary. Thus, it is not considered as a legal compensation, or a sustainable measure for this sector. TIB said the callousness of buyers and factory owners in regard to workers’ welfare is still highly visible. In an earlier research in October 2013, TIB had proposed the creation of a Workers’ Welfare Fund for this sector.

But TIB softened the blow on the government and the RMG sector, noting that over the past year, 31 per cent of the commitments and initiatives for improving fire and structural safety and rights of workers in the RMG sector have been completed and considerable progress has been made in another 60 per cent of the commitments.

TIB says the implementation of the commitments is very encouraging in the context of a developing country like Bangladesh and reflects positive intent of all stakeholders including the government, factory owners and workers to improve governance challenges in the RMG sector. These commitments were given after the Rana Plaza tragedy two years ago that killed over a thousand workers.

TIB has now also proposed creating the ‘Good Governance Authority for RMG Sector’ to prevent coordination gaps among different committees and agencies responsible for implementing different initiatives and projects taken after the Rana Plaza disaster. The main objectives of this authority would be to enhance coordination among different stakeholders and monitor good governance in their operations. In the long-run, a separate ministry has to be established to oversee the RMG sector, it said.

The Rana Plaza accident is considered to be the most visible example of the lack of good governance and corruption in the RMG sector in Bangladesh. According to a TIB research (October 2013) reasons for accidents and lack of compliance in this sector include lack of coordination among the stakeholders, negligence in their duties, political influence, corruption and irregularities.

The research presented 25 recommendations with an objective to establish good governance in this sector. TIB undertook the latest follow-up study to assess initiatives and projects taken by national and international bodies after the Rana Plaza incident to prevent governance challenges in regard to ensuring workers’ rights and work safety. (SH)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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