WELFARE OF RMG WORKERS
Govt wants written action plan of EU AccordStaff Correspondent
The government on Wednesday asked the visiting delegation of European Union Accord to submit their plan of action in writing for welfare of workers in the export-oriented readymade garment sector.
‘We have asked for a written work plan from the European Union Accord as the organisation wants to set up an office here to look after the welfare and safety of the readymade garment workers,’ labour secretary Mikail Shipar told reporters after a meeting with the delegation.
The EU Accord having 80 buyers that import apparel items from 1600 RMG factories here in Bangladesh is now interested to engage itself in the welfare activities for workers, he added.
‘We want to know what they intend to do for the welfare of the workers since we have our own national action plan in the sector. Moreover, other international organisations and also the United States have already expressed their willingness to do the same job,’ the secretary added.
After a separate meeting with a delegation of International Labour Organisation, labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju told reporters that ILO had offered a financial assistance of $ 40 million for improving the workplace safety and welfare of the workers in the apparel industry that earns $ 20 billion annually from exports.
The minister said that the government had already taken a number of steps including relocation of RMG factories to Gazaria in Munshiganj which would ensure welfare of the workers.
There are around 5,000 RMG units, mostly in Dhaka and Chittagong, which employ over 40 lakh workers, most of them women.
He said the government was going to appoint 200 factory inspectors besides 51 presently working in the posts to make sure that workplace safety standards were maintained.
The labour minister said that the revised pay structures for garment workers would be announced after Eid and the minimum wages commission was already working in this regard.
Assistant director general of Asia and the Pacific region Yoshiteru Uramoto led the ILO delegation to the meeting.
The EU retailers formed the Accord after the Rana Plaza collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers at Savar on April 24, but the US retailers refused to join hands with EU buyers and formed an alliance of 17 retailers of US and Canada with separate plan of action for garment industry safety.
The European retailers on Tuesday agreed with the garment industry leaders to work together with North American buyers to ensure safe and sustainable garment industry in Bangladesh under a unified code of conduct for the garment units.
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