The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a three-year Worker Empowerment Programme in Bangladesh to support labor rights, union organizing, and women's empowerment in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector. The announcement coincided with the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka that killed over 1,100 workers and injured over 2,500, USAID said in a statement.
"USAID's Worker Empowerment Program demonstrates the United States' vigilance in promoting fundamental labor rights, including workplace safety and health, so tragedies such as Rana Plaza can be prevented in the future," the statement quoted Jonathan Stivers, USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia as saying. "We have partnered with the Government of Bangladesh, international donors, and the garment industry to empower workers by giving them a real voice in this vital sector and to reform labor laws consistent with international standards."
The new Worker Empowerment Programme aims to strengthen the capacity of independent workers' organizations by empowering the workers in these organizations, and particularly women workers, with the skills and support necessary to protect their rights, promote their interests and improve conditions in their workplace and community.
The US and the European Union, in close cooperation with the ILO, will remain closely engaged with the Bangladesh government to ensure that economic growth and sustainable development go hand-in hand with workers' safety and rights.
Following the Rana Plaza tragedy, the Bangladesh government and the readymade garment sector in that country had come under pressure to improve working conditions in the textile industry and protect workers’ rights. (SH)
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India