The US State Department strongly urged US buyers to coordinate efforts with Bangladesh government, BGMEA and civil society and labour groups on factory safety and fire initiatives, including helping pay for independent safety and fire inspectors.
The call was made by the State Department, Department of Labour and Office of the US Trade Representative, who convened a conference call on May 8 in Washington DC with US buyers in Bangladesh’s garment industry, according to a US media note received early Thursday.
The conference was called to discuss US government engagement to improve workers’ rights and working conditions in Bangladesh, and to review how the private sector can assist in these vital ongoing efforts.
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake, and Special Representative for International Labour Affairs Barbara Shailor represented the State Department during the conference call.
Blake and Shailor noted that the tragedy at Rana Plaza once again underscores the urgent need for government, owners, buyers, and labour organisations to work together to improve labour safety and the lives of working people in Bangladesh.
Both the United States and Bangladesh have a shared interest in ensuring that the growth of Bangladesh’s export sector does not come at the expense of safe and healthy working conditions or fundamental labour rights, said the media note issued by the Office of the Spokesperson in Washington, DC on May 8.
The State Department strongly urged US buyers to coordinate efforts with each other and with the Bangladesh government and the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association), as well as civil society and labor groups, on factory safety and fire initiatives, including helping pay for independent safety and fire inspectors.
They encouraged the buyers to communicate their concerns about labour conditions to the BGMEA and the Bangladesh government, and to urge immediate passage of the labour law amendments to lay the basis for the establishment of an International Labour Organisation and International Finance Corporation Better Work Programme.