The International Labour Organisation has targeted the end of the year to expand its Better Work Programme to 200 garment factories in Bangladesh.
At present, the programme is running in 96 factories, where a total of 183,000 workers are employed, the United Nations agency said in a statement yesterday.
The Better Work Programme was introduced in Bangladesh in 2014.
The programme is a partnership between the ILO and the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corpora-tion, and is currently running in eight countries.
The aim of the programme is to improve labour standards and competitiveness in global supply chains.
The garment sector is the driving force of the economy, said Md Mujibul Haque, state minister for labour and employment, at the Better Work Bangladesh's first stakeholder and buyer forum at a city hotel yesterday.
“We welcome Better Work's approach of seeking to boost industry competitiveness while improving the lives of the workers,” he added.
During the two-day conference that began on Sunday, the stakeholders took stock of the progress and discussed the future direction and activities of the initiative.
In a short time, the Better Work Programme has gained excellent support from the government, workers and employers alike, said Srinivasa Reddy, the country director of ILO.
“We look forward to deepening and widening this engagement in the years to come,” he added.
Wendy Jo Werner, country director of the IFC, said: “Through Better Work we seek to improve working conditions and competiveness in the Bangladesh garment sector.”
This will contribute to greater resilience to global economic trends as well as increasing demands from buyers and customers, she added.
Examples of Better Work activities in Bangladesh include assessments and advisory visits conducted to develop compliance improvement plans, the statement said.
Training is taking place on supervisory skills, financial literacy, industrial relations and workplace cooperation. Support has been provided to help build capacity of the government labour inspectors.
In addition, draft guidelines have also been developed for forming safety committees in coordination with the Accord and Alliance, the two platforms of international retailers.